- Thursday 23 October 2014
The proposed expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport could pave the way for regional fresh food and produce suppliers to expand into markets around Australia and into the Asia-Pacific.
Airport general manager, Peter Pallot, said the current constraints at the airport meant most aircraft flying out of the coast had no spare capacity to carry freight.
“This means options for the transport of fresh food to regional, interstate and overseas markets are limited,” Mr Pallot said.
Mr Pallot said the majority of air freight, including fresh produce, was generally carried in the belly-hold of commercial passenger aircraft.
“Because the length of our current main runway limits the weight that can be carried by aircraft, the capacity of the belly-hold space in flights out of the Sunshine Coast cannot be fully utilised,” he said.
He said the expansion project, the subject of an Environmental Impact Statement on public exhibition until November 13, encompassed the lengthening and widening of the runway on north-west/south-east alignment.
“The proposal to build a 2450-metre x 45-metre wide runway is a game-changer for local producers and particularly those working with perishable goods such as seafood, vegetables, fruit and flowers, for which the coast has a great reputation,” Mr Pallot said.
“In addition to providing the capacity to reach national markets beyond Sydney and Melbourne, it also opens the door to carrying high-value perishable goods to international destinations such as New Zealand.
“The Sunshine Coast is known for the quality and diversity of its fresh produce and the opportunity to plan future marketing around the capacity to deliver same-day direct to interstate and overseas destinations may well prove a significant economic and employment boost for local industry,” he said.