AN Albury Council boss has defended the financial performance of the city's airport after a councillor floated the idea of having it managed by a private company.
Deputy chief executive business, growth and community Tracey Squire was responding to Murray King who raised the prospect of leasing out the operation of the council-run airport.
The councillor was reacting to a COVID-19 impact briefing given by Ms Squire on Monday night which noted a fall in airport income of $1.8 million in 2019-20 and a forecast drop of $3.5 million 2020-21.
Cr King asked, "in regard to the airport and it's significant losses", if a cost-benefit analysis had been done on leasing out the airport to a private provider.
Ms Squire replied the council had not directed such action be considered and therefore that idea had not been examined.
Cr King then asked Ms Squire if she thought it would be a "good idea to actually get a different view on how the airport could run and what income we could get from leasing it and not having employees and all the other things that are costing us millions of dollars"?
Ms Squire lauded the value of the airport to ratepayers without COVID constraints.
"In a normal year the airport is a very profitable operation for council, certainly the last 12 months that hasn't been the case, but it is a facility that delivers a profit return to council," Ms Squire said.
Virgin last year stopping flying to Albury from Sydney, but Qantas is to join Regional Express on the Melbourne run from March 28.
In her presentation, Ms Squire noted more flights were returning to the airport as COVID fallout lessened.
Data relating to visitors walking into Albury's tourist information centre has defied expectations that the Victorian summer border closure and year-on-year impact of the virus would have scarred away those seeking help.
Ms Squire showed in January there was 793 walk-in visitors, compared to 576 for the same month in 2020, and in December 1208 people wandered into the railway station bureau, up from 1167 for December 2019.
However, monthly users on the visitalburywodonga webpage fell from 13,089 in January last year to 12,600 last month.
Ms Squire also showed Service NSW data indicating $8.56 million in bushfire and COVID grants had been approved for the council area
Meanwhile, the Wodonga Council did not stage its February meeting on Monday night due to Victoria's virus lockdown.
It has been deferred until next Monday.