NEW AIRPORT: Airport manager Barrie Rogers at the entrance to the airport. Gillian James, Adelaide “It’s fantastic. It’s much better (than the old airport), better facilities, just the whole ambiance is much better. It’s getting to like an Adelaide Airport style, like a smaller version of that.”
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Andrew Frackowski, Adelaide “It’s really well set out and it’s probably well overdue.”

Kelly Assender, Adelaide “It’s excellent, there’s really not much more to say”

Venessa and Adrian Worrall, Adelaide “It’s nice and fresh and modern. Seems good, nice cafe and it’s laid back. Seems lovely.

THE new Port Lincoln Airport terminal building is just about to pass the 200,000-passenger mark and it is all going according to plan according to the airport manager.

“Ultimately speaking its been fantastic,” Airport manager Barrie Rogers said.

“The stakeholders are very happy with the arrangements, as you can see it looks professional and it is professional.

“Operationally I can’t think of a more smoother move.”

Mr Rogers said the transition from the old terminal to the new terminal had been smooth and comments from the public had been “great”.

While the airport is yet to be officially opened it has been operational for two months and there is room for expansion in the future if it is needed.

“The growth potential’s there,” Mr Rogers said.

Attention will now turn to the old airport building, which will receive a new lease on life, becoming a “mini business/conference centre”, with all the administration offices moving into the building and a conference room will be created with the option of a catering space.

“There are a lot of meetings at the airport, it is amazing how many there is,” Mr Rogers said.

“People fly in for 30 minutes sometimes, meet and greet and then fly back out again; it happens a fair bit.”

The old terminal building will also act as a rest stop for pilots and freight workers who may need to stay overnight or have a long layover.

“In the last 12 months there has been something in the order of 16,000 flights through here, not all Qantas and Rex, but general aviation: newspaper deliveries, freight deliveries, etc.

“So the idea is to give those guys somewhere to go, use the facilities make a coffee, log on, follow a flight plan, create more of a fixed base operation.”

Work is expected to begin in November or December and should only take about three weeks.

Small things like wi-fi internet access and a Port Lincoln aviation history display on the walls are also possibilities that Mr Rogers is exploring for the new look airport.

While different screening processes may be in place for Rex and Qantas flights, this is the only difference the two companies have had and are working together well.

“Currently we are handling two up to three flights simultaneously, it still doesn’t fill the terminal but at least they know they’ve got the capacity,” Mr Rogers said.

The expansion of the terminal has meant more room for businesses operating including Budget, Avis and new cafe Eyre Lounge.

All have been thrilled with the change and the way things have transitioned into the new and improved airport.

“It’s been fantastic, all smooth sailing,” Allan Cooke from Avis said.

“It’s definitely a positive thing, gives the people that come into Lincoln something to appreciate.

“A lot of people have raved about it, it’s really nice and its similar to Adelaide Airport.”

Budget’s Kamron Clarke said the changeover had worked well.

“Been pretty seamless, its been great,” he said.

“The whole of the Eyre Peninsula benefits from this because people come into here and then drive all over the place.”

Anthea Fraser runs the Eyre Lounge at the airport with her husband Andrew and said a lot of the comments she was getting from customers were positive.

“Lots of people that come in are surprised at how modern it looks and lots of comments we get are very surprising it looks like Adelaide and it has brought us into the modern era,” Mrs Fraser said.

“From a business point of view, the more people that realise we’re here, it’s providing a flow on effect because people are arriving for their flights earlier because they know that they can come sit down and have a drink, have a coffee before they get on their flight so it is making life easier for the airlines as well because people know that they can come here and sit down and relax before they have to fly so they are more than happy to get here (the airport) earlier.”

The new look airport has become not just a hit with the people there to board flights but locals have come to just sit and have coffee at the new Eyre Lounge.

“Lots of local people are interested in what it looks like and how things work out here that aren’t necessarily flying,” Mrs Fraser said.

“It provides a talking point and meeting point for people and everyone catches up before they go as well as lots of families here for arrivals.

“Airports are a very emotional place, you witness a lot of different things here.”

Mr Rogers said it was great the public were enjoying the new airport because of all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

“A lot goes on from when they walk through that door ’till they get on that plane that they will never know about,” Mr Rogers said.

“A lot goes into making that experience valid and really good.”

This article first appeared in Hangzhou Night Net.

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