RUNWAY UPGRADE: The Whitsunday Coast Airport runway upgrade is now complete.
RUNWAY UPGRADE: The Whitsunday Coast Airport runway upgrade is now complete. Contributed

Airport terminal on track to open in December

WORK on the Whitsunday Regional Coast Airport runway upgrade was completed last month and work has begun on the passenger terminal expansion ahead of an expected completion date in December.

General manager airports and commercial infrastructure Brian Joiner told the Whitsunday Times the runway upgrade involved "grooving” the surface to improve traction during wet weather landing and take-offs.

"To date, excavation works have taken place and contractors will now move on with creating foundations and installing major service lines for the new terminal,” Mr Joiner said.

"The design for the new carpark is being finalised which will increase car parking capacity at the airport.”

In March this year Whitsunday Regional Council awarded Paynter Dixon Queensland the tender to construct Stage 1 of the Whitsunday Coast Airport terminal expansion project.

The combined spend on the runway upgrade and terminal expansion totals $35 million. A sum of $15 million has been chipped in by the State Government for the terminal expansion.

Mayor Andrew Willcox said in March that the upgrades will pave the way for international flights by long-haul aircraft.

"However I must stress international status is a long-term strategy and our current focus is to ensure the airport facilities can cater for our growing domestic market on the back of record visitation numbers,” Cr Willcox said.

In November 2015 initial plans to attract international flights to the Whitsundays were made with a view to having the first international visitors from New Zealand arrive in the Whitsundays in 2016. The first weekend in August 2016 was earmarked for the transition from a domestic to an international terminal but the plan was later scuttled.

In June 2016 council revealed that the expression of interest process for the Whitsunday Coast Airport and planning for international flights cost Whitsunday ratepayers more than $2.3 million.


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