Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project
  • Last updated:
  • 18 Jun 2019

Council’s Airport Expansion Project is progressing well and remains on target for completion by the end of 2020 as scheduled.

The detailed airspace and flight path design for the new runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport is now being finalised.

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
  • 120 hectares of land will be rehabilitated to offset ecological impacts
  • 2,230 new full-time direct and indirect jobs by 2040
  • Potential to attract up to 2,000,000 passengers to the Sunshine Coast annually
  • 3,500 fewer dwellings affected by five or more aircraft noise events of 70 decibels or more in 2020
  • 5,000 fewer dwellings affected by five or more aircraft noise events of 70 decibels or more in 2040.

Project news

From Wednesday 20 March 2019 and over the course of six weeks, Council, Airservices Australia and the Sunshine Coast Airport will conduct information sessions and briefings to present the proposed airspace and flight path designs for the new runway (RWY 13/31).

In finalising the airspace and flight path designs, we have taken into account safety, efficiency, regulatory and environmental constraints and a range of stakeholder considerations, including minimising the effect of aircraft noise on local communities, wherever practicable.

An analysis indicates that there will be minimal material change to the information originally included in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) consultation process conducted in 2014 and 2015.

We are committed to communicating and engaging with all stakeholders on the flight paths and airspace architecture for the new runway.

This communication and engagement process provides an opportunity for a more detailed look at how the airspace will operate once the new runway is in service, to answer any questions that you may have and for members of the community to provide feedback on the proposed design.

In line with this process, the community is invited to:

1. Drop-in sessions

  • Saturday 23 March 2019 between 10am and 1pm, North Shore Community Centre
  • Wednesday 27 March 2019 between 5.30pm and 8pm, Coolum Civic Centre
  • Saturday 30 March 2019 between 2pm and 4.30pm, Surfair Beach Hotel, Marcoola
  • Wednesday 3 April 2019 between 5.30pm and 8pm, Coolum Civic Centre
  • Monday 8 April 2019 between 12pm – 8pm, Cooran Memorial School of Arts
  • Wednesday 10 April 2019 between 12pm – 7pm, Pomona and District Community House
  • Thursday 11 April 2019 between 12pm – 7pm, Verrierdale Hall
  • Saturday 13 April 2019 between 11am – 3pm, Cooroy Memorial Hall

2. Information kiosks

  • Thursday 28 March 2019 between 3pm and 7pm, Noosa Civic Shopping Centre
  • Saturday 30 March 2019 between 9.30am and 12.30pm, Big Top Shopping Centre, Maroochydore
  • Sunday 31 March 2019 between 10am and 12noon, Peregian Springs Shopping Centre

The opportunity will also be taken during the engagement period to update the community on the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project, given the new runway remains on track to be operational by 2020.

To find out more information about the airspace and flight paths design, visit the project page on the Airservices Australia website.

3. Feedback

Feedback can be provided about the flight paths by completing the online form or by post to:

Noise Complaints and Information Service
Airservices Australia
PO Box 211

Submissions close Tuesday 30 April 2019.

This will enable all submissions to be considered and the final designs to be completed and submitted to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority for approval.

Frequently asked questions[1815KB]

More information

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


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.

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.

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.

From its humble beginnings in 1961, the Sunshine Coast Airport has supported the region’s economic growth and become one of the busiest regional airports in Australia.

In September 2018, Sunshine Coast Airport became Australia’s fastest growing airport in terms of passenger number growth, according to Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). From 2017 to 2018 the airport recorded 12.3% growth in passenger movements and hit a new record of 41 consecutive months of growth, from June 2015 to October 2018.

The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project represents the ongoing development of an airport that has been operating and evolving for more than 55 years and the realisation of a long-term plan to grow and the region’s passenger and freight connectivity to other destinations.

The first stage of the new runway and most of the new aprons and taxiways are scheduled to open in May 2020. The remaining taxiways, aprons, and associated works will be completed by December 2020.

20 March to 30 April 2019

  • Proposed airspace change and flight paths out for aviation industry and community feedback

January 2019

  • Detailed runway design complete

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)

Airport Expansion Project Timeline


  • One of the first noticeable changes undertaken to the existing airfield as part of the construction works was the permanent decommissioning of an existing cross runway and alterations to the airside fencing to make room for the first stages of construction.
  • To construct a new runway substantial amounts of fill have been imported to the airport site. To achieve this, sand was dredged from the Spitfire Channel at the northern entrance to Moreton Bay, transported to Marcoola Beach by the dredge vessel the Nile River and pumped ashore to the airport site via a 4.5km pipeline. The dredging was timed to avoid the turtle nesting season. Approximately 1.3million cubic metres of sand has been placed on site.
  • Since the start of 2019, engineering construction firm John Holland has started various activities on site, including installing the stormwater drainage system, undertaking apron works adjacent to the terminal, and starting paving trials for the new runway.
  • Dune and dredging activities[365KB][365KB]

The project includes a number of environmental initiatives with recent progress on the following:

  • 1.25 hectares of closed heath vegetation comprising Mount Emu She-oak tiles have been relocated. A further 198 individual trees have been relocated.
  • Habitat improvements to expand the existing wallum heath areas to support frog and ground parrot populations have started.
  • A conservation corridor to provide connectivity between the national parks to the north and south of the new runway has been designed.
  • Additional environmental offsets are to be carried out at the Lower Mooloolah River Environmental Reserve.

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.

See the online aircraft noise information tool, created for the EIS consultation process, to review the aircraft noise over existing addresses for the airport and forecast for 2020 and 2040. Please note: we are currently updating the noise tool to reflect the current airspace and flight path engagement.


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 licensing 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.