Airport expansion lands green plan
THE long-awaited Environmental Impact Study which will pave the way for an expanded Sunshine Coast Airport, is finally here.
The report will be discussed in a special Sunshine Coast Council meeting on Monday.
The $418.6 million expansion has been touted as a "game changer" for the Coast, helping attract and cater for bigger international aircraft in the future.
Monday's meeting will update councillors on the draft EIS for the new east-west runway at the airport.
A council spokesman said the EIS was planned to be released to the community for a 30 business day public comment period late this year.
"It remains the council's objective to have the new runway operational by 2020, subject to approvals and funding," the spokesman said.
The Sunshine Coast Airport expansion plan was given unanimous backing by councillors in 2010, to pave the way for international flights in the future.
In October last year, the State Government transferred three parcels of land to the Sunshine Coast Council and amended planning legislation to sideline vegetation issues that threatened to delay the project.
The new runway and associated upgrades including a new terminal, retail space and aviation business precinct, would be crucial to boost the Coast's reputation and accessibility internationally.
Sunshine Coast tourism leaders told The Daily in June that now was the time to tap into the lucrative Asian visitor market.
The latest Tourism Research Australia survey looking at international visitor numbers showed 225,000 overseas visitors came to the Sunshine Coast between March last year to March this year.From that pool just 8000 were Chinese.
International visitors also injected $209 million into the Coast economy in 12 months.
The Air New Zealand direct flights, the Coast's only international flights, are growing in popularity, with 8000 passengers touching down on the Coast last year.
Sunshine Coast Airport expansion
- A new 2430 metre runway, which will operate in an east/west direction.
- New terminal for passenger, baggage processing and retail
- Expansion of the aviation business precinct
- 5000 new jobs
- $1.6 billion economic benefit between 2015 and 2050