A Word from the CEO: 2020. The year that was.
First of all I want to thank our staff and their families. In an incredibly trying year, the staff at Avalon Airport has shown resilience, loyalty and optimism at every step. They have embraced new roles, changed roles and changed circumstances with positivity and understanding. They are the backbone of the operations here, and this year in particular each has brought so much to the table to help get us through this extraordinary time.
In January, hot off the back of incredibly successful AirAsia flights to KL and our domestic Jetstar flights, we began this year celebrating the announcement that Garuda subsidiary Citilink would be flying daily between Avalon Airport and Bali.
The news was widely welcomed and the flights began strongly. But at the same time a new disease, COVID-19 had begun spreading through the world, and in response the flights were stopped. Soon after, AirAsia announced they would pause their flights also, and as the pandemic reached Australia and state border restrictions kicked in, all our domestic flights stopped, and much of our staff began working from home or spread out around the facilities.
A new sight appeared at Avalon Airport; lines of Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin planes. The airlines moved in teams of engineers and began months of maintainance, with no certainty around when they might fly again.
We'd already planned several upgrades to our domestic terminal, and safely moved straight onto these.
Our partnership with Elenium Automation expanded. Initially they were to provide us with check in kiosks, but they'd been working on touchless technology and so in response to the pandemic and the desire for less contact we were the first airport to install this technology in check in kiosks and auto bag drops.
Rapiscan, who provided us with our CT Scanner in our international terminal installed the same in our domestic terminal, meaning passengers would no longer need to remove their laptops from their bags.
We installed many other measures and reminders to ensure that when we returned to flying we were providing a space that required as little contact as possible from passengers, in order that they may travel through seamlessly and safely.
During this time we were able to re-deploy many of our staff into new or different roles, and I was so proud of how flexible and positive the staff remained, even in the face of false starts and so much unknown.
We began flights back to Sydney in December, and although short-lived due to the NSW Covid-19 cluster, our processes held up, and our passengers were able to go through our new processes smoothly. Our Sydney flights are due to re-resume on 9 January, and we can't wait for the return to some kind of normal, and for more people to try out our new tech when they fly.
Gold Coast flights resume on 2 January, and Adelaide on 1 February, and to help out, our car parking remains at only $5/day until the end of February. We look forward to a new year, new hope with the vaccines and a flight schedule that resembles our pre-Covid-19.
We've just welcomed back the Large Air Tankers (LATs) to Avalon. We are so grateful to them for the vital role they play each year in the state's fire fighting campaign, and after the terrible fires of last season we hope fervently that this year they have little to do.
Thanks again to our wonderful staff and their families, our airline partners, our loyal and our new passengers, local, state and federal governments, tenants and partners for all your support this year.
However you spend the New Year, we wish you all the best, and for 2021. Stay safe.
CEO Avalon Airport