The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project is another step closer towards delivery, with the Queensland Minister for State Development Anthony Lynham this week (May 19) releasing the State Coordinator General’s report accepting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.
Mayor Mark Jamieson welcomed the news, saying the Coordinator General’s report and approval was an important step towards the region’s game-changer project becoming a reality.
The Airport Expansion Project includes delivering a new 2450m x 45m runway fully compliant with regulatory standards; runway end taxiway loops, an expanded apron and terminal facilities, a new air traffic control tower and associated infrastructure.
“The Project will deliver a world of opportunities and is a major game-changer for the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“It will enable direct flights to more destinations across Australia, Asia and the Western Pacific, enhancing national and global connections.
“It will also generate jobs and economic growth, boost tourism, help export businesses and secure air access to the Sunshine Coast for generations to come.
“The Commonwealth Government will now review the Coordinator General’s report and council looks forward to receiving approvals, due within 30 days of the report being received. Further specific project approvals will also be required before works can commence.
“I congratulate council’s project team on the quality of the Environmental Impact Statement and the work they have done on this project to date.
“Today is another chapter of this exciting project which has a long history, having been on the drawing board since the 1980s and I look forward to the day the first plane takes off on our new runway.”
Mayor Jamieson said the council would now consider the conditions and recommendations contained within the Coordinator General’s report and envisaged the new runway would be open for operations in 2020.
Sunshine Coast Council Aviation Portfolio Councillor Steve Robinson said the $347 million Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project would help grow passenger numbers and support the needs of the growing Sunshine Coast community.
“It is anticipated it will contribute $4.1 billion to the local economy and result in 3500 fewer dwellings being affected by noise each day,” Cr Robinson said.
The announcement comes on the back of news that Sunshine Coast Airport is the fastest growing airport in the country for the eighth consecutive month.
Recently released data from the Commonwealth Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) confirms a 24% year on year increase in total passengers for the month of February.
Growth can be attributed to strong ongoing demand for services at Sunshine Coast Airport from both local residents and visitors, as well as the introduction of Qantas services to Sydney in December last year.
Jetstar also announced new flights from Adelaide to the Sunshine Coast three times a week starting this September, adding 56,000 seats each year to the airport’s capacity.
Services between Adelaide and the Sunshine Coast will commence on September 30, 2016 operating Wednesday, Friday and Sunday each week.
To celebrate the launch, Jetstar is offering special one-way launch fares today from $69* (on sale from 10:00am-Midnight AEST), for select travel periods. Regular one-way lead-in fares on the route are available from $135*.
Sunshine Coast Deputy Mayor Cr Tim Dwyer said the new services would contribute further to Sunshine Coast Airport’s record performance over the past year, with Commonwealth Bureau of Infrastructure and Regional Economics (BITRE) confirming that Sunshine Coast Airport had been the fastest growing major airport in the country for eight consecutive months, recording 17% year-on-year in March on the back of 25% growth in February.
Cr Dwyer said the Sunshine Coast was looking forward to welcoming more South Australian visitors to the region.
“This is a tremendous show of support for our region from Jetstar and we can’t wait to see more South Australians enjoying their holidays here and it also provides an opportunity for locals to sample the delights that South Australia has to offer,” Cr Dwyer said.
The services add an additional 56,000 seats between the Sunshine Coast and Adelaide each year.
Jetstar Airways Head of Commercial and Operations Improvement, Carly Povey, said direct Sunshine Coast services from Melbourne and Sydney were performing well and she was confident the new Adelaide-Sunshine Coast service would be similarly well supported.
“The Sunshine Coast is one of our most popular leisure destinations and we’re sure Adelaide holidaymakers, as well as Queensland tourism operators, will warmly welcome today’s announcement that a low fares airline option is now available on the route,” Povey said.
Visit Sunshine Coast acting CEO Simon Latchford said Jetstar had been a strong partner of the Sunshine Coast and was confident the Adelaide route would prove to be a major success.
“The South Australian market offers tremendous opportunities for a destination such as the Sunshine Coast, with our year-round attractive climate and vast range of events,” Latchford said.
“Our strategy has been to diversify our market base as widely as possible, and the start of direct Jetstar services from Adelaide complements significant growth in direct services from Sydney, Melbourne and across the Tasman.”
Adelaide Airport Managing Director Mark Young welcomed today’s announcement by Jetstar on the introduction of a direct Sunshine Coast service.
“It’s really pleasing to see Jetstar continue to expand its network out of Adelaide. South Australian’s will now be able to easily access the Sunshine Coast, while we also expect there will be plenty of Sunshine Coast residents who want to experience what Adelaide has to offer including our world class wine and seafood.
“The service will also connect the significant number of friends and families who live in the two regions,” Young said.