- Friday 20 May 2016
News that construction of the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project is on track to begin before Christmas has been welcomed by aviation, business and tourism organisations.
The project, which includes a new 2450m x 45m runway; runway end taxiway loops, an expanded apron and terminal facilities, a new air traffic control tower and associated infrastructure is set to become a game-changer for the region, adding $4.1 billion to the local economy, and significantly increasing tourism and business opportunities.
Australian Airports Association Acting CEO Nick Lane said the association was “delighted” the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project’s Environmental Impact Statement had now been accepted by the Queensland Coordinator General.
“This reflects the hard work and dedication that Sunshine Coast Airport has committed to securing the future of aviation in the region,” Mr Lane said.
“The expansion project will not only facilitate direct access to more destinations across Australia, it will also open up the Sunshine Coast to international markets and create a key driver for increased tourism and economic growth.
“We look forward to the final approvals being issued by the Commonwealth Government and are excited for work to commence on this important project.
“This is a significant milestone for the Sunshine Coast Airport and a boost for the aviation industry in Australia, and we congratulate the airport and council for achieving this fantastic outcome.”
Visit Sunshine Coast Acting CEO Simon Latchford also welcomed the announcement and said the upgrade was crucial to cope with the increasing number of flights at Australia’s fastest growing airport.
"This runway extension and improved aviation facilities will be a game-changer for the Sunshine Coast tourism industry,” Mr Latchford said.
“This will allow us to welcome larger aircraft to the region with greater capacity and capability to service the future domestic and international passenger demand.
"Our strategy has been to diversify our market base as widely as possible, and last week's announcement of direct Jetstar services from Adelaide later in the year complements significant growth in direct services from Sydney, Melbourne and across the Tasman.
"The news of the airport expansion approval confirms the region's reputation as a dynamic, multi-faceted destination and will redefine the Sunshine Coast's tourism and economic landscape.”
Sunshine Coast Combined Chambers Alliance Chair Michael Shadforth said the announcement was reward for significant work undertaken by council and airport staff.
“It shows how the Regional Economic Development Strategy – combined with focus – can transform our region,” Mr Shadforth said.
“The airport expansion will greatly benefit all of us and will unlock our potential to become a region that is envied across the globe.
“Our great lifestyle, the Sunshine Coast’s natural environment and our growing economy being driven by talented people can create amazing outcomes which will benefit us for generations to come.”
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said yesterday’s announcement the State Government had accepted the project’s Environmental Impact Statement was an important step towards the project becoming a reality.
“The Commonwealth Government will now review the Coordinator General’s report and council looks forward to receiving approvals, due within 30 days of the report being received. Further specific project approvals will also be required before works can commence, anticipated to start by year’s end,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The council would now consider the conditions and recommendations contained within the Coordinator General’s report and envisaged the new runway would be open for operations in 2020.”