KARUMBA air services will continue this year with twice-weekly flights to remain until the end of 2019.
A year long trial to include Karumba on the regulated Gulf air route which started in October 2017 proved a success, prompting the town to be included on the route until the end of this year.
The flights are operated by Regional Express Airlines (Rex) under a contract with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
They are scheduled twice a week, with a Tuesday westbound service from Cairns and a Thursday eastbound service from Mount Isa.
The Gulf route is serviced by a 34-seat Saab 340 B Plus aircraft and also services the remote communities of Normanton, Mornington Island, Burketown and Doomadgee.
Rex previously stopped at Karumba Airport only when the road between the town and Normanton was closed due to flooding.
Karumba received a welcome boost last year, with New Century Mine sending their first shipments out of the port after taking control of the former Century Mine assets.
As part of their operations, they agreed to dredge the channel leading to the port which allowed the resumption of cattle live exports after an almost 12 month hiatus in June.
New Century Mine Head of Corporate Affairs Shane Goodwin said the continuation of flights was another positive sign for Karumba’s economy.
“We're really pleased to see that the economy in Karumba is going through a period of growth at the moment and we're very proud to be a part of that,” Mr Goodwin said.
“The state continuing support for charters in and out of Karumba is further evidence of that growth.”
Mr Goodwin said the mine had created employment opportunities in the town and they had up to 50 staff on site at any one time.
While some are FIFO workers, others have opted to live in the town.
“We try to encourage residential living in Karumba in particular, our head of port operations lives in Karumba and we have a number of houses available for employees as well.
“We do try to encourage residential living.”
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said Karumba flight trial had demonstrated a strong demand for the service.
“The continuation of this vital service has been driven by community support,” Mr Bailey said.
“More than 400 passengers used the service during the trial so we are pleased to be able to continue it.
“Regular air services to Karumba help business development by allowing easier access to medical, education and other services and boosting tourism opportunities.
“With the inclusion of Karumba on the Gulf service route, all communities will continue to receive the same level of service as they received during the trial.”
Traeger MP Robbie Katter welcomed the continuation of flights.
“The inclusion of Karumba on this route has had far-reaching benefits,” Mr Katter said.
“It has increased the isolated community’s access to essential services which are not available in their home town, opened up new and extended existing tourism opportunities and has fostered better business development in the area.”