New Sunshine Coast runway attracts 900 submissions
The Sunshine Coast Airport’s proposed new runway has attracted about 900 submissions after its environmental impact statement (EIS) was released earlier this year.
Submissions to the Queensland Coordinator-General closed on November 13 and a spokeswoman for Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney confirmed 900 EIS submissions had been received.
Sunshine Coast Airport general manager Peter Pallot said he hoped the project would be approved in mid-2015 so work could begin in 2016.
He expected the first flights on the new east-west oriented runway, which would cross the existing north-south runway, to be operational by 2020.
While the Sunshine Coast’s proposed 2.45-kilometre runway was shorter than the newly opened 2.87-kilometre Brisbane West Wellcamp runway near Toowoomba, it still increased capacity and opened up potential new markets.
According to the EIS, the new Runway 13/31 would allow planes the size of Airbus A330s and Boeing 787s to fly in and out of the Sunshine Coast, which would open up direct flights to places as far away as Los Angeles and Dubai.
But Mr Pallot said the main priorities for the runway expansion were the domestic and burgeoning New Zealand markets.
He said the airport had a catchment of about 600,000 people, stretching from Gympie in the north to Morayfield in the south.
“The length of the current runway constrains our operations,” Mr Pallot said.
“With the Auckland flights, we can land a full aircraft of 168 passengers, but we can only take off with 139 because of the runway constraint.
“…It needs a longer runway to lift the load of fuel and passengers to get to places like Auckland.
“We just can’t get to Perth, we can’t get to Darwin and we’re even load-constrained on some days down to Melbourne.”
Mr Pallot said the longer runway would enable fully laden 737s to take off with enough fuel to make it to airports across the continent.
“It would also be great to get into other airports unconstrained, like Wellington and Christchurch and even Queenstown,” he said.
“Beyond that, there’s the potential for us to go into places like Singapore, Hong Kong and China with direct flights.
“Singapore and Hong Kong are, of course, major hubs, so to be able to fly into a major hub has got advantages, particularly for the inbound market.”
The largest passenger planes to use the existing 1.8-kilometre Runway 18/36 were Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s.
Including the runway, taxiways, apron and terminal upgrades, Mr Pallot said the total cost of the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion project was expected to be $347 million in 2020 dollars.
Mr Pallot said that was offset by a $4.1 billion boost to the Sunshine Coast economy over the first 20 years, with more than 2200 jobs generated throughout the community.
According to the EIS, the new runway would decrease noise levels in 13 suburbs, to the north and south of the airport.
Residents of Mudjimba and Yandina Creek could expect an increase in aircraft noise.
Passenger numbers at the Sunshine Coast Regional Council-owned airport have increased from 100,150 in 1999/93 to 790,002 in 2012/13, with a peak of 908,851 in 2011/12.
It has been a big month for Queensland airports, with Brisbane Airport hosting 70 G20 aircraft during the leaders’ summit and Toowoomba’s new Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport officially opening on Monday.
Brisbane Airport Corporation chief executive Julieanne Alroe said her airport, the third-busiest in Australia, coped extremely well with last week’s G20 summit.
“Brisbane Airport was one part of the enormous machine responsible for delivering an exceptional and safe experience for the world’s leaders, but as the first and last impression for those arriving and leaving the city we had a huge responsibility to get it right,” she said.
“The BAC team and various event partners most certainly achieved that.”
One leader who did not avail himself to Brisbane Airport’s hospitality was US President Barack Obama.
Instead, Air Force One flew in and out of the RAAF base at Amberley.
Subject: Your article 23 Nov Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2014 06:13:32 +0000