LAST week Newcastle City Council authorised the paperwork to finalise the restructure of Newcastle Airport.
This approval has set a clear path for the future of the airport.
The airport is jointly owned by Newcastle and Port Stephens councils.
The councils agreed to change its funding structure in 2012.
Newcastle and Port Stephens councils are each 50 per cent shareholders and Newcastle Airport relies on them for funding.
This restructure will give the airport more autonomy in how it is funded, allowing it to enter into independent finance arrangements, which means it can take out a loan on its own.
The councils will not need to borrow money on the airport's behalf, which will have a positive impact on their bottom lines.
It will allow the airport to repay about $12 million borrowed from the councils.
The shareholder councils will also receive a dividend.
At the moment, any operating surplus must be reinvested into the airport, but once the restructure is complete the councils will be entitled to a dividend forecast at $36 million over the next 14 years.
The other significant change is that third party equity can be sought, meaning a shareholding of up to 49 per cent could be sold as long as both councils retain an equal majority holding.
I wrote earlier this year about Newcastle becoming an alternative gateway for air travel in NSW.
This is a great step forward in securing our airport's future.