Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project
  • Last updated:
  • 10 Dec 2018

The sod was turned on council's largest construction project in April 2018. Construction Contractor John Holland Pty Ltd is on site and preparations for sand placement for the new runway are well underway.

On track to be completed and commissioned by Christmas 2020, the Sunshine Coast Airport's new runway will open the Sunshine Coast up to the world.

Project scope

Council’s Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project will deliver a new longer and wider runway compliant with regulatory standards, a half-length parallel taxiway, expanded apron, perimeter road and significant drainage channels.

The length, width and orientation of the existing runway were recognised as limiting future growth in passenger numbers, destinations and freight capacity in the early 1980s. The challenge for Sunshine Coast Council is to ensure the airport can support a growing Sunshine Coast economy. 

In adopting the 2007 Sunshine Coast Airport (SCA) Master Plan, Council determined the preferred option for the future of the airport was to develop a new longer main runway, aligned in a south-east/north-west direction.

The existing secondary runway (RWY 12/30) will be closed and revised flight paths established with the commissioning of the new runway.

Main components of the project

  • A new longer and wider Code E runway aligned to the north-west/south-east (RWY 13/31)
  • A parallel  taxiway (half length)
  • An expansion of the apron at the existing terminal 

The project also includes:

  • augmentation of the current traffic control tower by Airservices Australia
  • runway and taxiways of fine crushed rock pavement with asphalt surfacing
  • concrete pavement on new apron bays
  • dredged sand embankment
  • bitumen surfaced perimeter road
  • significant drainage channels
  • lighting to be medium intensity LED
  • biodiversity offset areas.

The terminal expansion is no longer in the project’s scope and will be delivered by the airport operator, Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd.

Project background

The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project represents the ongoing development of an airport that has been operating and evolving for more than 55 years. As the region continues to grow, the airport must expand to meet the needs of the community and to continue to support the development of the region’s economy.

The existing main runway, Runway 18/36, at Sunshine Coast Airport first opened in 1961 and has been instrumental in the development of the Sunshine Coast economy ever since. 

The 2007 Sunshine Coast Airport Master Plan identified the runway infrastructure, at 1,797 m (long) x 30 m (wide), constrained airline services available to Sunshine Coast residents.

Project location

The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project is located inside the existing airport site at Marcoola.

Project facts

  • New runway 2,450 metres long and 45 metres wide
  • $4.1 billion contribution to Gross Regional Product (2020 - 2040)
  • Potential to reach new destinations at home and abroad
  • 63 hectares of land will be rehabilitated to offset ecological impacts
  • 2,230 new full-time direct and indirect jobs by 2040
  • 3,500 fewer dwellings affected by five or more aircraft noise events of 70 decibels or more in 2020
  • in 2040 5,000 fewer dwellings affected by five or more aircraft noise events of 70 decibels or more
  • potential to attract up to 2,000,000 passengers to the Sunshine Coast annually.

Project news

Project activities

 August to October 2018

  • Dredging activities to be complete and all materials off the beach before the next turtle nesting season commences in November 2018.

August 2018

  • Dredge arrives off Marcoola
  • Dredging commences

July 2018

  • Pipeline bored under David Low Way

June 2018

  • Assembled pipeline put in place on sand bed with float ready to connect to dredge

May to early June 2018

  • Dredge pipeline assembly along Marcoola Beach
  • Traffic control remains in place

Early May 2018

  • Beach Access 111 closed (all other beach access points will remain open)
  • Traffic control in place along David Low Way to allow for road and pedestrian safety

April 2018

  • First sod turned 20 April 2018.

March 2018

  • John Holland Pty Ltd awarded Construction Contract (1 March)

Dredging and sand placement 

  • The dredging and sand placement operation will take approximately three months.
  • All activities will be completed outside of turtle nesting season.
  • The pipeline will be assembled above the high tide mark and be off the beach completely by the end of October 2018.
  • Marcoola Beach Access 111 will be temporarily closed May to October 2018 to accommodate the pipeline. The dune will be restored and revegetated after dredging is complete.
  • There will be an 842m length (900mm in diameter) of submerged/floating pipeline.
  • A sand bridge has been built over the pipeline where it meets the dune to ensure Surf Life Saving vehicles and beachgoers have appropriate access over the pipeline. Beachgoers can use Beach Access 110 and 112, or any other access along the beach, while 111 is closed.
  • One dredge vessel ‘The Nile River’ will make around three trips per day from the dredge site in the Spitfire Realignment Channel in Moreton Bay to the pipeline at Marcoola.
  • An estimated 1.5 million cubic metres of sand will be dredged and pumped onsite via a pipeline that will run under David Low Way.


Airport Expansion Project Timeline

Environmental management

Environmental management plans

Environment impact statement

The Queensland State Coordinator-General’s report delivered on 19 May 2016 approved the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project and confirmed the project will deliver major economic and social benefits to the region. Any adverse environmental impacts can be acceptably avoided, minimised, mitigated or offset through the implementation of the measure and proponent commitments outline in the EIS documentation.

The EIS is available for viewing on the Coordinator-General’s website.


The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project team and the construction contractor John Holland, are aware of  a number of kangaroos on the site.

John Holland ensures spotter/catchers are on site for all active areas to keep these animals out of harm's way as work progresses.

The fencing has been installed along the utility track to maintain north/south fauna passage on the western boundary of the site.

All of the existing underpasses on the Sunshine Coast Motorway remain accessible for fauna movement under the motorway.

Temporary fencing is being used to restrict access to areas of higher risk, as required. Animals are still able to pass through our site between the two separate areas of the national park to the north and south of the project for access to their food and water sources.

White Spot Disease

The project environmental officers are in regular contact with the regulatory authority, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), to stay informed of any changes.

The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project dredge footprint is in an existing sand extraction area in the Spitfire Realignment Channel in Moreton Bay, and sits outside the DAF Movement Restriction Area (MRA) for white spot virus. The MRA was selected to correlate with fishing licencing boundaries.

White Spot virus has been found in a number of species in Deception Bay and near Redcliffe Peninsular which is more than 10 kms from the dredge site.

White Spot virus does not survive in a dead host for any great length of time.

Surveys have shown little likelihood that any species prone to white spot virus are located within the dredge footprint (due to lack of seagrass).

More information on white spot is available on the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries website.

More information

See the online aircraft noise information tool to review the aircraft noise over existing addresses for the airport and forecast for 2020 and 2040.

Historical images and project history is available for viewing on the Sunshine Coast Airport project page

In the media


For more information on the project, please contact the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project Team by calling the Community Information line on 1800 210 755 or emailing

For project administration enquiries only, please call (07) 5453 1544.