A strategy to revitalise the Kingscote Airport must be high on the agenda for the Kangaroo Island Council, which owns and operates the facility.
The airport should more than pay for itself, it should be a source of revenue for the council.
The astonishing decline in passenger number in recent years can be blamed on many factors – the loss of competitor airlines Emu, Qantaslink and Air South; the subsequent escalation in prices by Regional Express; the impact on international tourism of various economic forces; a limited schedule of flights.
As one correspondent succinctly put it, the only residents using the airport are the subsidised, the wealthy and the desperate.
Compare this to Port Lincoln where the airport has thrived in recent years and hosts several airlines and increasing passenger numbers.
Rex has a business model that works for it but has agreed to trial a middle-of-the-day flight; the council has canvassed for alternative providers without success; SATC is promoting flights; various businesses and agencies continue to lobby for runway upgrades and such.
Kangaroo Island Futures Authority is now preparing a report on options.
The council must act soon.
While it will not want to duplicate the current work being done by former Adelaide Airport chief Phil Baker, it must seek that report urgently and formulate an action plan.
Perhaps KIFA will be able to assist to take action, which may be expensive and certainly the council would not eschew such support.
However, it is a council facility, a valuable community asset, a lifeline to the mainland, a conduit for tourists and visiting professionals and it must not be allowed to languish.