UPPER Hunter Shire Council will move ahead with stages one and two of the Scone Regional Airport Master Plan.
The first phase includes new drainage and rehabilitation of the runway surface, and new airside lighting, funded by council.
This essential work was identified in the 2019 Annual Safety Inspection and must be undertaken to allow the airport to continue to operate.
Stage two of the Master Plan features the construction of a Warbird Aviation Attraction and Terminal building, as well as expanded and upgraded apron, main taxiway, flood lighting, drainage, aircraft wash bays, refuelling system, fencing, car-parking, and power supply.
It is funded through a grant of $6,256,904 from NSW Government's Restart NSW Regional Growth - Environment and Tourism Fund and $6,778,313 through a loan fund undertaken by council.
Once detailed design and engineering plans are complete, council will call for tenders for the construction work.
Upper Hunter Shire mayor Wayne Bedggood said council was already heading in the right direction with the management of the airport and its facilities.
"This significant investment will benefit the shire," he explained.
"Investment in the airport will promote tourism, encourage new residents and businesses, and create jobs for the region.
"The upgrade is also critical to the safe operations of aircraft activity."
The airport currently operates at a loss of about $300,000 a year.
However, it is a vital asset to the shire and has approximately 4600 landings per year - many supporting the equine, mining, farming and other industries as well as emergency services.
The airport also supports critical and lifesaving aviation facilities, such as Air Ambulance, Westpac Rescue Helicopter, Child Flight, Rural Fire Service and NSW Police.
Three registered flying schools operate from the premises providing pilot training for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and other emergency organisations.
The upgrades will ensure the existing airport businesses are able to continue to operate and to enable growth with additional aviation services and businesses.
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen welcomed the progress and said he was proud to be a Member of a NSW Government that was investing in growing the airport's tourism potential.
"Boosting visitor numbers in Scone and region is going to provide benefits to a range of our local businesses, including our accommodation venues, our shops and cafes and our entertainment venues," he added.
"This funding is part of the Nationals in government's record infrastructure investment in our regional communities to diversify our local economies and ensure they continue to be great places in which to live, work and visit."
The Aviation Visitor Attraction will be one of only a few in the world to offer the opportunity for joy flights in World War II aircraft and "behind the scenes" viewing of aircraft restoration work.
It will be an all-year-round attraction, building on the popularity of the Warbirds over Scone Air Show.
Plans for the Scone Regional Airport are detailed in the Master Plan prepared by three Consulting, which was adopted by council in June 2016.