A multi-million dollar plan to create a new airport terminal and Warbird Aviation Attraction at Scone Regional Airport has been given the official go-ahead.
The development application for the project was approved by the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel at a public meeting in Scone on Wednesday, with the panel voting unanimously in favour.
Upper Hunter Shire Council general manger Steve McDonald said the next steps are to finalise the Review of Environmental Factors and the construction tender process so building can commence.
"We are now waiting for the panel to finalise conditions of consent, which include some minor amendments, and they will be made public when they're finalised," he said.
"We've gone out to tender at the moment and those tenders will come back in early December and we will review those and then bring them to council."
With the New England Highway Bypass of Scone due to be complete by early 2020, Mr McDonald said the airport upgrade will be not far away after that and provide a boost to the economy.
"At the hearing the majority of speakers spoke for the approval of the application and spoke of the benefits that it would provide to not only Scone but the broader community," he said.
"They can see that this aviation precinct is going to play a major role in employment, whether it be through tourism, attracting additional businesses to the precinct and even the stimulus it's going to provide whilst it's under construction."
Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen also welcomed the planning approval and said it was a major step forward.
"The approval of the Scone Airport project is a major boost to our local economy and jobs," he said.
"It builds on the record infrastructure spending in the Upper Hunter by the Nationals in state and federal government and demonstrates how communities can work together to build opportunity and a prosperous future.
"This project is nothing but positive and I look forward to it's completion. It's an exciting time and I can't wait to see how it improves our community."
The project is part of a wider $23.5 million upgrade of Scone Airport which includes $13.5 million in airside upgrades and a further $10 million in non-airside infrastructure.
The project is funded through two grants from the NSW Government including $6.5 million from the Drought Stimulus Package and $6.25 million from Restart NSW Regional Growth - Environment and Tourism Fund and a $10.75 million loan taken by Upper Hunter Shire Council.