Bundaberg Regional Council is calling for applications to operate the region’s airport cafe as flight numbers climb following two years of COVID-19 pandemic disruptions.
Bundaberg Regional Council Airport portfolio spokesperson, Councillor Greg Barnes said 2022 was shaping up to be the year when Bundaberg Airport returned to business as usual.
“After the renovation and extension of the airport terminal in 2010, the café was leased to private operators which was a welcome addition for passengers,” Cr Barnes said.
“Unfortunately the decline in traveller numbers associated with COVID-19 restrictions meant the café was no longer viable as a privately operated business.
“Flight numbers have been soaring to pre-Covid levels but to truly see the airport get back to business as usual we’re asking commercial operators to submit a tender to return operation of the airport’s café to private hands via a lease.”
Bundaberg Airport is presently served daily by up to four QantasLink 74-seater aircraft departures to Brisbane.
Bonza Airlines has announced a plan to begin a twice weekly direct service between Bundaberg and Melbourne late in 2022 with its 186-seater aircraft. There are also daily charter flight departures to Lady Elliot Island resort.
At the end of June, passenger throughput at the airport had returned to around 80% of pre-COVID levels, said Cr Barnes.
Earlier this year Council launched the Bundy Bites café from the airport for the convenience of travellers.
“Council decided to reopen the café early in 2022 with its own staff to provide limited refreshment options to travellers,” Cr Barnes said.
“This was intended as a temporary service until the airport became busy enough to support a more comprehensive offering.
“Council believes that time has come and there is the opportunity for an experienced food business operator to lease the café.
“We expect the new café operator will be able build a viable business that grows as air travel continues to recover.”
He said the airport café clientele is comprised mainly of travellers and airport staff. The number of workers is boosted every fire season by aerial fire fighters who are based at the airport concurrently with Queensland’s Large Air Tanker.
Interested businesses can submit a tender and find out more about leasing the airport café on Vendor Panel. Tenders close on 16 August 2022.