WORK on the apron extension at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport is on track for completion next month, marking another important milestone in the airport's growth.
The project includes the construction of a new taxiway, an extension to the existing aircraft parking bays and associated drainage and services installation.
Airport manager Neil Weatherson said it would enable more flights, more often.
"The expansion of the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport will help fuel the economic growth of the region for business and tourism and cater for the steady increase in passenger numbers that has been experienced in recent years," he said.
And numbers certainly have been increasing.
For the 12-month ending in November last year, the airport recorded a total of 343,581 passenger movements.
It was a 12% increase compared to the same period ending November 2011.
"This is a great result for the airport and bodes well for a strong year with passenger numbers expected to top 360,000 by the end of June 2013," Mr Weatherson said.
"The continued strong growth in airline capacity and new destinations, such as Newcastle, have continued to assist the local tourist industry by filling beds that would otherwise be empty.
"We should see continued growth in passenger numbers through the holiday period and beyond with additional airline services planned for the Sydney route commencing in April.
This growth will provide four daily jet services to Sydney, three daily Rex services to Sydney and two to Newcastle, and three weekly jet services to Melbourne."
Funds have been secured for a $7 million runway project, including a new asphalt overlay and runway strengthening.
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