TAMWORTH’S own expert in aviation, Michael Dubois, has been recognised for his contribution to the industry with a rare lifetime membership of the Australian Airports Association.
Mr Dubois, who retired as the manager of the Tamworth Regional Airport in August, was presented with the honour at the body’s annual general meeting.
The honour, which has only been bestowed on 10 people in the association’s 30-year history, came as a surprise.
Mr Dubois, who served as a director of the association for 10 years and as the deputy chairman for six, was a judge for this year’s association awards and flew to Melbourne for the annual dinner last week under that premise.
“I didn’t know anything about the life membership until it was presented at the AGM,” he said.
His wife Clare had no idea of the honour, either.
“They kept it all very secret,” he said.
Mr Dubois said he was both shocked and very “chuffed” with the recognition.
“It was a nice way to be able to finish up,” he said.
For Mr Dubois the award capped off 12 months of solid achievements.
Before his retirement Mr Dubois project-managed the security upgrade of the Tamworth airport.
In his role with the association he worked with federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese to ensure the $5.2 million in funding for upgrades at 17 regional airports was made available to help shoulder the costs.
“Without that support, which worked out to be about $320,000 per airport, regional airports would have struggled to pay for the rollout without passing on the costs of the works to passengers,” he said.
His interest in aviation began during his national service years in the army in the early 1970s when Mr Dubois would often go on flights with the navy air wing.
When his national service ended he chose a career in civil aviation over taxation and has never looked back.