AUSTRALIANS flocked in droves to the Northern Rivers after COVID restrictions eased in October, with Ballina airport hitting record numbers of passengers in that month.

Since hitting rock bottom in April with only 385 people at the terminal, passenger numbers to the airport increased with the October 2020 figure of 51,359 reported to Ballina Shire Council.

This number is a record figure for October, with the same month last year reaching 47,296 passengers and 50,908 in 2018.

The airport still has a full COVID-safe plan that excludes anyone who is not a passenger from the terminal, temperature checks of every arrival and extra cleaning, plus other measures.

The airport remains the second busiest in NSW, with flights to and from Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Dubbo and Newcastle.


Temperature screenings at Ballina airport in June 2020.
Temperature screenings at Ballina airport in June 2020.


And that's good news for council, with a report to be tabled next week revising the operations forecast of the airport going from red to blue for the 2020/21 financial year.

Instead of a $1.8 million deficit projected for that period, the current forecasted operating result for the airport is an operating surplus of $11,000.

This week the airport had seven services coming in from three cities: three Qantas services, one Virgin and one Jetstar arriving from Sydney, one FlyPelican from Newcastle and one Jetstar from Melbourne.

Friday, a whopping 14 services are expected to arrive to Ballina - four Qantas, one Rex, four Jetstar and one Virgin from Sydney, one Jetstar from Melbourne, plus one FlyPelican services from Dubbo, one from Canberra and one from Newcastle.

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