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Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said the $40 million Whitsunday Coast Airport runway upgrade and terminal expansion will commence next month.
Mayor Willcox said the upgrade project will ensure vital airport infrastructure keeps pace with the forecast growth for the Whitsunday Region.
“This council has adopted a measured and sustainable approach to developing the airport and this $40 million project is a critical step in realising the long term vision of our Strategic plan,” he said.
“When the demand is there and the business case stacks up, Council is positioning the airport to be able to cater 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,” Mayor Willcox said.
“This massive project could not happen without collaboration which is why myself and CEO Barry Omundson have been proactively lobbying all forms of government over the past 12 months.
“There are a total of five stages of the rolling masterplan for development of the airport complex for the long term future.
“Each of the staged developments compliments the previous so nothing is being built and then removed,” he said
Whitsunday Regional Council CEO Barry Omundson said that the $15 million funding from the Queensland Government was very welcomed and a result of building strong relationships with all levels of government by Mayor Willcox and council.
“With the $15 million grant announced Council has now applied to the Queensland Treasury Corporation for a low interest $25 million loan to complete the $40 million airport terminal and runway upgrade,” he said.
Whitsunday Coast Airport Development Officer Glenn Robinson said the runway pavements had reached the end of their serviceable life.
“The passenger numbers we are now putting through means the terminal requires a significant expansion.
“We have recently seen a 40% increase in commercial aircraft activity so the runway works will include significant strengthening to cater for that extra traffic. We will also groove the runway to increase safety during wet weather operations,” Mr Robinson said.
“The project contractor Fulton Hogan has nominated using our local quarry ensuring the project supports our regional industry and local jobs.”
The concept terminal expansion will include: • Additional toilets in baggage claim area• Provision of additional airside toilets in the expanded departure lounge• Doubling the size of the departure lounge to comfortably accommodate people from two simultaneous flights• Provision of an additional departure gate. • Reconfigured and expanded security screening area to allow for a future double lane of security screening• Relocation of secure departure lounge exit with pass back monitoring and alarm directly into baggage claim area to reduce congestion. • Additional food and beverage seating areas• More than double the size baggage claim and arrivals area and adding a second baggage carousel• Relocation of car rental kiosks into a purpose built car rental offices in the carpark immediately opposite the terminal• Expansion of the baggage make up to include a makeup loop with two loading positions and bypass lanes to allow for expedient loading of departing aircraft• Construction of relocated and expanded airport management offices, including an external emergency operations room.
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