Thursday, January 12, 2012

Seaplane an option for work and play

With the recent industrial boom and increase in real estate prices in the Gladstone region, a small group of aviation business operators are considering how a seaplane or helicopter service could operate from the Capricorn Coast and Gladstone Harbour.

There are a number of aircraft types suited for the Capricorn Coast region.

When not flying passengers to Gladstone for work, tourists can be transported to the Great Barrier Reef and nearby coastal islands for day trips.

Seaplanes operate in many areas of coastal Australia and overseas and provide an alternative means of transport.

The option of travelling in a seaplane such as a turbo prop Dehavilland Beaver, Twin Otter or Cessna Caravan opens up a new market for the region and offers a unique travel experience.

Passengers can commute from the Capricorn Coast and travel direct to their final destination in Gladstone Harbour in under an hour.

While the aircraft are not large, they can comfortably seat up to 10 passengers for a modest fare.

Many tourists do not have the time to join a charter boat cruise but would consider a day trip to the reef in a seaplane.

It is early days for the Capricorn Coast's seaplane venture, stakeholders need to negotiate and suitable landing and operating areas need to be considered.

An environmental and safety study would be needed to ensure there would be no negative impact.

Seaplanes have been operating in freshwater lakes in Canada and the US for many years and have been operating with no significant environmental or safety issues arising from their operations.

Planning and a bankable feasibility study need to take place before any aircraft are allowed to fly.

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