The WA Department of Transport’s Regional Airports Development Scheme (RADS) will contribute nearly $1.4 million in grants to upgrade aerodrome facilities in regional WA.

A total of 12 projects in six regions have received RADS grants, with the biggest grant of more than $300,000 going to the Shire of Wiluna in the state’s Mid West.

The funding will go towards several upgrades at Wiluna Airport, including runway lighting, airport CCTV equipment, replacing airport security fencing, and preparing design and document plans for a future terminal upgrade.

The Australian Airports Association (AAA) has welcomed the WA Government’s funding commitment.

AAA Chief Executive Officer, Caroline Wilkie, said the grants would provide much needed support for regional airports in WA.

“Regional airports are the lifeblood of their communities and must be appropriately funded to ensure they can meet the needs of local people and businesses,” Ms Wilkie said.

“These grants will deliver vital improvements to 12 regional airports, helping keep their communities connected and thriving.”

Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, said air services to regional and remote communities are an important transport service, and help support social and economic development.

“These aerodromes provide essential services to the communities they service, and access to RADS grants provide much needed funding to assist in upgrades and improvements to services, security and comfort,” Ms Saffioti said.

“Even small grants have the potential to make a big impact such as the $13,000 awarded to Prenti Downs Station to upgrade their runway night lighting, enabling Royal Flying Doctor Service day and night-time operations at the airstrip.”

Substantial funding is also being provided to the Gascoyne region. Coral Bay Airstrip, which is used regularly for medical evacuations and tourism purposes, received funds to upgrade solar lighting and construct a small passenger terminal, improving safety for night landings and providing rest facilities for pilots.

RADS funding for Shark Bay (Monkey Mia) Airport will widen their runway, enabling Rex aircraft to operate at the airport from July 2018.

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