Big thanks after Big Wet

February 15, 2019

Townsville Airport Chief Operating Officer Kevin Gill issued a heartfelt thanks to staff and airport contractors for their extraordinary efforts during what was the worst flooding disaster on record for the city and region.

Figures released by the Bureau of Meteorology for Townsville Airport saw rainfall records tumble,with 1052.8 mm of rain received in the seven days to 9am, February 4, breaking the previous 7-day record of 886.2 mm set back in January 1998.

The BOM further noted its 10-day rainfall record had also been beaten, with 1257 mm of rain falling between January 28 and February 6, passing the previous record of 925.5mm set in January 1953.

Townsville Airport was forced to close its doors for just 20 hours between 6pm on February 3 and 2pm on February 4 – a rare event in the airport’s 80-year history.

Mr Gill credited his staff, airport contractors and airline partners for the short length of the shutdown, saying everyone went above and beyond during a particularly challenging time.

“Apart from the small window of time when we were forced to close, the majority of our scheduled fights arrived safely and on time despite the record rainfall we received,” he said.

“That is testament to the incredible work of our team and partners, who were operating on limited staff numbers at the height of the disaster, while their colleagues were at home dealing with the inundation.

“I’m so proud of our team, who did everything they could to ensure our passengers were comfortable, from providing free hot meals for flood victims to shoes for one passenger who had lost everything except the shirt on his back to the flood.

“They have certainly proved the adage true: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I thank every team member, contractor and partner for their commitment and dedication over this trying time.”

Mr Gill also thanked passengers and the wider community for their patience during what was a challenging time.

The airport team has now set its sights on helping in the recovery phase, joining other members of the Townsville Business community in donating $25,000 to the flood recovery.

The money will go to GIVIT, the official charity of the North Queensland flood recovery and which is working in conjunction with the Queensland Government and Townsville City Council.

Staff will also be participating in flood recovery efforts in the community, rolling up their sleeves to help where possible, including at Althea Projects’ Wee Residential Service, which helps disadvantaged children in the community.