Katoomba Airfield is located at the end of Grand Canyon Road in Medlow Bath. It is completely surrounded by the Blue Mountains National Park. This strategic location has been important for bushfire fighting and other emergencies.
The Department of Industry (Crown Land and Water) is currently considering issuing a new long term lease over Katoomba Airfield at Medlow Bath to a private commercial operator.
A short term ‘licence’ was issued to a private commercial operator on 1 February 2018.
The Department advised that community consultation will be undertaken prior to the issuing of any long term lease.
Potential impacts of a new lease
No information about flight paths by any users of the airport is available and is unlikely to be publicly available before a lease is granted.
Other concerns include the protection of the threatened Blue Mountains Swamps on site, the migratory paths of birds, soil erosion, groundwater contamination and weed invasion of the surrounding national park.
Airfield to be included in the National Park
Previous government assessments of Katoomba Airfield have consistently recommended that the site be added to the Blue Mountains National Park and used for emergency and bushfire air operations only. Recommendations arising from these assessments undertaken in 1999, 2000 and 2008 were supported by Council and the relevant state government agencies.
In 2017, without any community or known agency consultation, the Department of Industry (Crown Land and Water) called for expressions of interest for the operation of a ‘commercial lease’. We understand that no opportunities were provided to consider the option of a non-commercial emergency airfield.
The Conservation Society is working with local residents and community groups to ensure that any proposed use of the airfield does not affect residents and compromise the conservation values of the Blue Mountains National Park and in particular the Grose Wilderness Area.
In December 2018 the Society sent a series of letters regarding the Katoomba Airfield to -
Aircraft movement in the Blue Mountains can be viewed on the Flight Radar website.
What you can do
If anybody wants to be included as a stakeholder in the upcoming public consultation process on the proposed lease in regards to the Katoomba Airfield they should contact -