Qantas veteran looking to make his Mark at airport
GLADSTONE Airport Corporation has a new person in charge with Qantas veteran Mark Cachia stepping into the CEO role last week.
Mr Cachia has been involved in the aviation industry since 1983 and worked for Qantas in various roles for 30 years.
He also has international airport management, security and airport development experience. His most previous role was two years as commercial and compliance manager at Coffs Harbour Regional Airport and recently moved to Gladstone with wife Cathy and their three teenage children.
Previous CEO Colin Fort resigned in April due to personal reasons.
Mr Cachia believes his previous experience in a vast array of aviation roles has him well equipped to take on Gladstone.
"I've had diversity in what I've done. I've worked in operations, done the commercial side, done the compliance and security aspects of aviation," Mr Cachia said.
"All those roles have given me the skillset to manage a CEO title."
Mr Cachia is still familiarising himself with the region but is aware of its strengths.
"From a marketing perspective you've got mining and industry but Gladstone also has a great tourism attraction in the Southern Great Barrier Reef and I think that's untapped," he said.
"The problem is it's difficult to market both - you are either a tourist spot or industrial. Gladstone is at that place where it's trying to work out where it sits."
Mr Cachia is also fully aware of the airport's debt as Gladstone Airport Corporation owes Gladstone Regional Council $48.69million, as at June 30, with $3.12million to be repaid this financial year.
"We've got (cash) reserves, which is good and some old debt. Is it affecting the ratepayers? I don't believe it is because we are a corporation and standalone," he said.
"We pay council a dividend because they are the main shareholder and the community should be benefiting from that as the money goes through to council.
"In terms of profit and loss we are reliant on aeronautical at the moment like passenger movements. Obviously the more passengers we get the more money we earn, the more aircraft we get the more money we earn.
"We need to increase that which is obvious but the second thing is looking at what we can do non-aeronautical such as buildings people can occupy."
Mr Cachia said it wasn't as simple as "build it and they will come" as stepping stones needed to be placed to achieve the goal of greater revenue.
Working closely with stakeholders, such as Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Limited, to tap further into the tourism market is a high priority for Mr Cachia.
"There needs to be a good relationship with the airlines. It's not a matter of going to the airlines and asking for additional capacity because they'll expect a business case as to why," he said.
"So it's a stepped approach trying to work with GAPDL and what their goals and strategy is, understanding that and then approaching the airlines to explain to them why we need additional capacity.
"At the moment I can't see the need for additional capacity because our load factors are quite low but that's a trend going all round Australia."