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Please Support Lismore Airport...

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1 hour ago, pmccarthy said:

I agree with Turbs. One of the reasons our field is successful is the massive turnouts for working bees, so that council has no cost in its existence. It has a key local asset operating at no cost. And it is run very professionally, with no training allowed that isn’t locally based, no high-noise aircraft (except for during an air show) and careful noise mitigating circuits. It is all reflected in the master plan. The result - a supportive council and community.

Is there a contact person that I can give our airport coordinator so we can maybe get a dialogue going and bring some new ideas to the airfield?

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Electric training aircraft will certainly assist in keeping noise levels down even if they are only used for circuit training. The Council has a page dedicated to the airport including a fly neighbourly guide on line at https://lismore.nsw.gov.au/a-regional-airport-with-everything-you-need . Taking off and heading straight does not go over residential areas in either direction. This is covered in the fly neighbourly guide. The circuit direction of could be changed to right hand which would take most of the training away from town as 15 seems to be the runway in use most of the time. There is a large GA maintenance industry there so a few Johnny come lately whingers are unlikely to get anywhere but will make plenty of noise until the issue & cost to the council & others gets settled.


Landing fees are an issue everywhere but are inevitable in a user pays society. $12.30 per landing is pretty high especially if it applies to RA aircraft and touch & goes. Everyone on the airfield needs to get on to council and get the annual charge reinstated or aviation related business will suffer. I didn't get charged for my last landing there but that was when my radio decided it was not transmitting. The noisiest thing at Lismore is the Westpac rescue helicopter as it has its base there. Suggest it be moved to Ballina & see what the whingers think.

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On 21/07/2021 at 8:55 AM, Munger said:

Morning All,




ONE aircraft noise winger (Judith Forsyth), who moved to our community about a year ago, has managed to get into the ear of a few councilors and now the whole airport and peoples livelihoods could go up in smoke.




On 21/07/2021 at 8:55 AM, Munger said:

 I sent her a message on Facebook. If anyone else wants to, here's her link.                                                                                                      https://www.facebook.com/judith.forsyth.7


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All I can say, based on experience with mining complaints, it is a bad idea to respond directly to complainants. Just riles them up. You need to go through the proper procedures, which sounds like through the council.

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On 22/07/2021 at 10:39 PM, Munger said:

Here is the link to the ABC radio interview with Izaac. The LCC spokes persons response left me speechless, especially considering that one of our Foxbat pilots here, who flies twice a week had a bill of over $1000 for the year, because nobody told him about the annual landing fee pass!


Head to this link: Breakfast - Breakfast - ABC Radio


Then scroll through to approximately the 46:30 mark (which equals about 7:20am this morning) you will hear your interview, followed by the Council spokesman.

If you listened to the segment on ABC Radio you may have noticed that things don't quite add up. Here is Izaac's response to Mr. Wing (Manager of Commercial Services at the LCC):


Good morning Bronwyn,

I am issuing the following response to the comments made by Ashley Wing, Manager of Commercial Services at Lismore City Council, on ABC Radio on 22/7/21. His comments were absurdly inaccurate and more worryingly, clearly indicate that he doesn’t even understand the issues around the asset and business (ie. the Lismore Regional Airport) that he is supposed to be in charge of managing. It is not surprising now that Councillors are making flawed decisions to support these types of changes if they are receiving advice from their managers that is grossly inaccurate and misleading.

Firstly, I was previously advised that the Lismore Airport fee structure change was implemented to reduce a budget deficit, not as a “return to market-based pricing”. From our perspective, the pricing has always been in line with the market, and has now moved grossly away from that market. That is plainly obvious if you review the previous Lismore City Council Fees & Charges documents and compare the landing fee structure as it did exist prior to 1/7/21 and then compare it with the structures that are published online by other airport operators such as Ballina Shire Council, Richmond Valley Council, Southern Downs Regional Council and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, amongst many others. And interestingly, despite weeks of communication with the Mayor and other managers at the Council, including Ashley Wing, this is the first time I have heard market-based pricing mentioned as a justification. I was clearly advised, including in writing, that the change was made to reduce a budget deficit. As a customer of the airport, it astounds me that this would be given as a justification for the change - if you were moving to market-based pricing, wouldn’t you consult with and negotiate with your market, especially your current customers, before implementing a completely different price structure, one that will increase costs to one of your biggest customers by thousands of percent per annum? And wouldn’t you continue to offer a product that is in line with the majority of the regional airport market i.e. by offering an annual landing fee option to attract and retain operators to base themselves at the airport? If they are really interested in market-based pricing, I challenge Council to back this up by coming to the table, which they haven’t done at all yet, negotiating with their market, and offering a landing fee structure that matches or betters the offers available at Ballina, Casino, Coffs Harbour, Warwick, Port Macquarie and many regional airports that offer annual landing fee options to local operators.

Secondly, Ashley stated that Council was moving to a user pays system. This is grossly misleading as it has always been a user pays arrangement at Lismore, or at least for as long as we have been based there. Aircraft operators were always given the option of either paying on a per landing basis, or an annual fee for unlimited landings. It is absolutely absurd to say that Council was undercharging users by quite a lot for quite a while – the fee structure as it stood prior to 1/7/21 was in line with most other regional airports, or at least those that have flying schools and commercial operations based at these locations. This is plainly obvious if you compare the previous Lismore City Council Fees & Charges document with those published by other councils that own and operate airports. The issue that has arisen here is the structure of this user pays system, which has now moved away from the rest of the regional airport market, and the potential amount by which the user cost (particularly to our company) will increase due to this structural change.  Although the audio was difficult to hear, I think Ashley also claimed that users would now pay a reduced amount per landing. As clearly indicated in the Lismore City Council Fees & Charges document for 2021/22, the per landing cost at Lismore has actually increased from $11.60 per tonne in 2020/21 to $12.30 per tonne in 2021/22, that is a 6% increase, not a reduction!! For comparison, at Ballina, the per landing cost per tonne is $12.00. But much more importantly, Ballina offer an annual landing fee option to support businesses to base themselves at the airport.

Thirdly, I note that Ashley commented that Council had used historical data to model the impact on operators, and that they didn’t necessarily agree with my numbers. It is undeniable that the impact of my landing fee costs at Lismore is in the order of multiples of tens, not double or triple, but multiples of tens. I have taken our Lismore landing data at Lismore for the last 3 months and analysed the costs that my company would have been charged under this new structure, and despite the impacts of a greatly depressed aviation training market in the setting of COVID and the impact of postponements of training courses due to lockdowns and border closures, and despite having aircraft out of action for prolonged periods due to periods of atypical heavy maintenance, we would have paid around 20 times more for our landings at Lismore on a per annum basis over this period. Unlike Council who are looking backwards for their modelling, I am also looking forward to a time when our market returns to a post COVD norm, when this impact will be much greater.

I will also note that we have already received widespread response and support from the wider general aviation industry, and unfortunately this change of fee structure, and the manner by which it has been introduced, has already inflicted significant damage to the reputation of the airport as a location to conduct aviation businesses, and may already have devalued the airport as a commercial asset.

As far as we are concerned, this matter is far from over. Firstly, we look forward to a time when Council actually has an understanding of the asset and business they are managing, and the impact of the decisions they are making, and secondly, we look forward to Council backing up its comments by actually participating in sensible market-based negotiation. I also urge all of the candidates for the upcoming local government elections to seek their own advice on this matter, as it is clear from the response given by Ashley that the advice from Council managers is flawed. I also urge them indicate their positions on this issue prior to the election, and for the new council to introduce and pass a motion at their first meeting to rescind these fee structure changes and then repeat the process of restructuring the airport fees using a more appropriate and equitable market-based approach. I hope this occurs before the airport loses its biggest customer, and many others.

Kind regards,
Izaac Flanagan
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