Work is due to start next month on the $40 million Whitsunday Coast Airport runway upgrade and terminal expansion, with Fulton Hogan as lead contractor.
It comes after Whitsunday Regional Council secured $15 million in State funding for the upgrade project, which represents the first phase of a five-stage development planned for the Proserpine-based facility.
Mayor Andrew Willcox said the works would ensure vital airport infrastructure kept 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.”
There were a total of five stages of the rolling masterplan for development of the airport complex, with each complimenting the previous stage so nothing would be built and then removed, 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,” he said.
“We have recently seen a 40 per cent 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.
“The project contractor Fulton Hogan has nominated using our local quarry ensuring the project supports our regional industry and local jobs.”
The planned terminal works 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.