Launceston Airport is celebrating 75 years of serving the freight, tourism and business travel needs of northern Tasmania. Launceston Airport opened for services on March 1 1931, connecting the city with the mainland with air services and reducing travel time for those previously limited to commuting by sea.
Launceston Airport last year handled 820,000 passengers, making it one of the top 12 busiest airports by passenger volume in the country. Australia’s 3 biggest domestic airlines now operate over 20 services each day to and from Tasmania’s northern capital.
Since 1931 Launceston Airport has been operated by various Commonwealth departments. Between 1987 and 1998 it was managed by the Federal Airports Corporation, a government business enterprise. In May 1998 the lease was secured by Australia Pacific Airports Launceston (APAL), a partnership between the City of Launceston and airport management company Australian Pacific Airports Corporation based in Melbourne.
Launceston is now connected with Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane through direct services. The frequency of direct services means Launceston is one of the easiest regional cities to fly to, making it economical and fast for interstate and international visitors. It also means northern Tasmanians can easily reach the three biggest cities in Australia for business or leisure.
Airport General Manager Pamela Graham is delighted with the growth and progress in recent years at Launceston. “There are now more airlines seats to Launceston than ever before - which is a great result for the community.
We make sure Launceston remains top of mind for our airlines so we don’t get overlooked. Business is now growing so well that I don’t see this being a problem in the future. We have been able to prove locals will use direct services, and visitors will fly here when given the chance” she said.
‘Launceston’s inclusion in the AFL fixture and the 10 Days on the Island arts festival have increased our profile for special event tourism, supporting our important year round fly- drive leisure market’said Ms Graham.
To mark the 75th anniversary Pam Graham announced the airport will continue to sponsor the Glover Prize, one of Australia’s best art prizes and one that promotes Tasmanian landscape painting. “We were a sponsor for the first time last year and we look forward to working with the organisers to progressively position the Glover Prize and exhibition as a major tourism draw card for the North’ said Ms Graham.
Launceston Airport also announced today its sponsorship of the Launceston Airport Young Pilot Scholarship to be offered in conjunction with the Tasmanian Aero Club, which has been operating at the Airport since it opened in 1931.
$5,000 is being provided by the Airport and the scholarship will be open to a young local and will assist them achieve their restricted pilots license, a pre-requisite qualification for a full pilots license.
“It is an entry level training course and could well help a young local start their career in aviation. It is an exciting initiative and we are delighted to be working with our good friends at the Aero Club who have been with us since day one’. Said Ms Graham.