Saturday, 30 November 2019

Hobart "International" Airport: Tasmania's shame

Hobart International Airport is a complete misnomer. 

Despite a decade of sabre-rattling and vague promises from politicians and the aviation industry there are precisely zero scheduled international flights to or from Hobart - and still no facilities set up to deal with customs, immigration or security. 



Hobart Airport is, in fact, a disgrace and an embarrassment. A second-rate, Third World facility that several years of cosmetic improvements have done nothing to rectify. 

Some tatty but comfortable seats have been replaced by hugely uncomfortable seats in the departures area; but the food remains grotesquely over-priced. Only one of the airlines serving Hobart has a business lounge for customers. 

Despite several years of being a building site, Hobart Airport is still not fit for purpose - its lack of air bridges (and no plans for them either) making it a joke for arrival passengers when it is cold (often) or raining (less often). Not to mention the regular severe winds.

Time your arrival wrongly and you are soaked through and freezing within minutes of landing.

Flying in during heavy rain on Friday night, Virgin Australia had to warn elderly and infirm passengers to be careful of slipping on the wet, metal stairs that the Hobart Airport authorities use instead of air bridges.

Passengers then had to brave the rain (no umbrellas available) across the tarmac, to the new arrivals area, complete with two conveyor belts. 

When the baggage arrived it was, predictably, soaking wet. Passengers then had to walk through an ill-lit, puddle-strewn pathway through more building works to the long-term "saver" car park, which is already often full beyond capacity. 

Not to mention airport authorities blocking off of roadside waiting zones, and grumpy security personnel ready to pounce on those waiting to collect arriving passengers from the inadequate pick-up zone. 

Tasmania has to realise that travel is global competitive and first impressions are important. If visitors think our facilities are second rate they can choose to visit Bali, Noosa, Thailand or Perth instead. 

An air bridge for international flights and a covered walkway to distant parking would be an absolute minimum of what is needed. 

Instead, our complacent politicians continue to lure tourists promising them first-rate luxury experiences, but offer a dismal first look at what Tasmania has to offer. Not good enough.

  

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