The Sunshine Coast’s newest runway has today been officially handed over to airport operators.
State Development Minister Kate Jones today joined council officials to inspect the new runway before the first plane touches down on Sunday.
Ms Jones said the longer runway would allow new direct flights and larger passenger jets to land – enabling more tourists into the region and more cargo to be traded interstate and overseas.
“The Sunshine Coast is a tourism icon but it’s also vital trade hub for hundreds of primary producers in southeast Queensland,” Ms Jones said.
“This runway will be crucial to the economic recovery of the region. It will generate millions of dollars for local businesses through the tourism industry.
At 2450 metres long, the new runway (Runway 13/31) is over half a kilometre longer than the one it replaces.
Ms Jones congratulated the Sunshine Coast Airport and Council on the successful $334 million runway project.
“With a longer runway that’s able to accept bigger planes, we’ll be able to negotiate with airlines to secure direct fights from other destinations – not just Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland,” Ms Jones said.
“In the long-term, we want to bring more tourists to the Sunshine Coast to create more jobs for locals in this sector. New flights are crucial to achieving that.”
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the new runway was the biggest piece of infrastructure Council had delivered and it would have resounding benefits for the region for decades to come.
“A hallmark of successful cities, communities and regions is connectivity and the Sunshine Coast Airport can now accommodate flights to all ports in Australia as well as Asia and the Western Pacific.
“Importantly, the new international-standard runway will provide the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions with its own direct travel and export gateway to the world,” he said.
The airport expansion project was a partnership between Sunshine Coast Council and Palisade Investment Partners, which owns the Sunshine Coast Airport. It was assisted by a loan from Queensland Treasury.
The first landing honours go to a flight from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast on Sunday, 14 June.