This 2002 Commons photo of Gove Airport says it all.

The airlines are playing the role of being the canary in the mineshaft again when it comes to warnings that the Australian economy is losing momentum.

Qantas is dumping Gove in the NT and Jetstar is making it clear its Avalon flights from what is Melbourne’s second airport are likely to end.

Gove is dying because of the closure¬† next month of Rio Tinto Alcan’s alumina refinery. This will drastically reduce direct and indirect employment in the town, and leave NT regional airline AirNorth as the only operator on the route, although it isn’t clear if its operations will continue or if services will fall to the level of smaller light aircraft connections to the remote community.

While Avalon airport, near Geelong, has obvious potential to grow, much of that potential may not be realised until there is more economic growth both in Geelong and SW outer Melbourne. Geelong’s economy is being seriously affected by the implosion of car making in Australia.

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