Works to create covered, secure parking at Orange Regional Airport have begun.
The work comes as demand for the airport is expected to increase after Qantas announced it would be flying up to 11 return flights to Orange from Sydney from May 1.
Orange deputy mayor and airport advisory committee chair Cr Sam Romano said the works started last week.
He said when completed it would provide covered parking for cars and for buses accessing the airport.
"A huge part of the car park will be undercover. Buses and coaches can come in and park undercover," he said.
"The roof of the carpark will be a huge solar panel array.
The Qantas decision backs the work Orange City Council has done to steadily upgrade the airport.Cr Sam Romano, deputy mayor Orange City Council
"Improvements to terminal Wi-Fi and other business facilities at the airport are part of this latest upgrade."
Cr Romano said it was the latest step in upgrade works at the airport.
"The Qantas decision backs the work Orange City Council has done to steadily upgrade the airport," he said.
"Over the last five year we've rebuilt the terminal, lengthened the runway and upgraded connecting access roads.
"The airport has been built with space for expansion."
LOCATION: Orange Regional Airport
The latest data, supplied by Spendmapp, shows 79,240 passengers used Orange airport in 2018-19. That's up by nearly 9000 passengers on the previous financial year.
It also showed the total spending by visitors to Orange in the 12 months to the end of August last year was $501.7 million.
Cr Romano and council's head of the economic development community committee, Cr Tony Mileto, said they also supported upgrading road access to the airport.
A road upgrade was added to the committee's action plan and endorsed by the full council earlier this month.
Cr Mileto said it was being looked at by the council.
"In my opinion it's a priority to be quite honest," he said.
"It is one of the gateways to Orange. That's the first impression visitors, and particularly business people, get of Orange."
Cr Mileto said there was also a need for a cycling lane alongside the road.
"I believe there is a need to create a safe environment for all road users. That includes cyclists," he said.
Cr Mileto said the road was narrow and did have a significant verge for cyclists to ride on away from the road.
He said that apart from being known for food and wine Orange should have a reputation as a "healthy lifestyle city as well."
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