Australia’s fastest growing airport on track to expand
  • Tuesday 14 June 2016
Aerial photograph of Sunshine Coast Airport

Sunshine Coast Airport – Australia’s fastest growing airport* – is on track to expand with Sunshine Coast Council agreeing to seek a partner to progress the project.

Sunshine Coast Council’s Airport Expansion Project will include a new fully compliant runway, expanded apron, two end taxi loops, and upgrades to the existing terminal.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said council would undertake an Expression of Interest process to identify the preferred partner to expand the airport which, by 2020, would contribute $4.1 billion to the Sunshine Coast economy and result in 3500 fewer dwellings being affected by noise.

“Our key objectives throughout the EOI process will be to secure financing for the project, protect ratepayers from exposure to long-term council debt levels, and maximise the value of the airport for our ratepayers,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“At the same time, council is continuing its efforts to secure a concessional loan of $181 million to assist with the construction program.

“Council has also appointed a probity advisor – Argyle Corporate Advisers – to provide independent oversight of the procurement process for the Airport Expansion Project funding strategy.

“The Airport Expansion Project has a long history and is a major game-changer for the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions.

“The project will generate jobs and economic growth, boost tourism, help export businesses and secure air access to the Sunshine Coast for generations to come.

“It will enable direct flights to more destinations across Australia, Asia and the Western Pacific, enhancing national and global connections.” 

Mayor Jamieson said the council would soon deliver another important milestone with pre-construction activities about to start.

“These activities are vital to ensure sufficient information is available to proceed with the project in a timely manner,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“They will enable us to determine the delivery strategy which achieves best value for money, adequately identifies and assigns risk and enables the project to target its 2020 completion date.”

The Queensland Coordinator-General has recommended the Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion proceed, subject to conditions, and the Federal Department of Environment has until June 30 to make a determination on the recommendation.

Physical works will only start after final approval has been received from the Federal Department of Environment and appropriate permits have been secured.

Preliminary works are anticipated to start in early 2017, with bulk construction works scheduled to start in the second half of 2017.

It is proposed the runway will be operating by mid-2020.

Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Steve Robinson said the Coordinator-General’s report had concluded that there were significant local, regional and State benefits to be derived from the development.

“The Coordinator-General also found that any adverse environmental impacts would be acceptably avoided, minimised, mitigated or offset through the implementation of the measures and council’s commitments outlined in the Environmental Impact Statement documentation,” Cr Robinson said.

“He has thoroughly reviewed all the information and it is with absolute confidence we can stand here with the knowledge that an independent third party has reviewed our work and determined the project can proceed.

“And with 66% of the 1241 submissions received during the Additional Environmental Impact Statement supporting the project, this is an enormous vote of confidence for us, as councillors, that the community is on board with this project.

“The Coordinator-General’s report and approval is an important step in the journey towards the region’s game-changer project becoming a reality.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us and securing a partner to join us on this journey is another important milestone we look forward to achieving.”

*Sunshine Coast Airport has set a new 12-month passenger record with 959,282 people flying in and out of the airport in the 12 months ended May 31 – beating the previous record set in January 2009.