A new chapter in the story that is our Sunshine Coast started today (Friday, June 12) with the handover of the new international standard runway and associated infrastructure to the Sunshine Coast Airport.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said this was a momentous occasion for the region, given the benefits the new runway would bring to the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions.
“Today, the vision becomes the reality,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The capability this new runway will provide our Sunshine Coast for decades to come, cannot be understated.
“This project will help build new opportunities for current and future generations and contribute more than $4.1 billion to our economy over the next 20 years alone, as well as generating around 2,230 jobs in that time.
“Importantly, the new international-standard runway will provide the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions with their own direct travel and export gateway to the world.
“Connectivity is a hallmark of successful cities, communities and regions and the Sunshine Coast Airport will now have the capacity to accommodate flights to all ports in Australia as well as Asia and the Western Pacific.
“It will connect people, cultures and businesses across continents.
“The international runway is a symbol of confidence in the future of our region and will provide new opportunities by opening direct access to new markets, whilst playing an important role in helping our region and its tourism and aviation industries recover from the crippling economic impacts of COVID19.
“The successful delivery of this project is testament to the importance of teamwork, good planning and delivering on the things you commit to do.
“In that, I want to particularly acknowledge the outstanding dedication of the Project Director, Ross Ullman, and his team, as well as the commitment of all Sunshine Coast Councillors since 2012 who have strongly supported this project.”
Mayor Jamieson said council’s largest ever infrastructure project was first mooted more than 40 years ago as part of the region’s planning documents, and had been advanced substantially since 2012, as part of a suite of region-shaping projects in the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013-2033.
The runway took 26 months to construct and, at every opportunity, the project has utilised local suppliers and workforce. It currently supports 200 local construction jobs.
Mayor Jamieson acknowledged the Sunshine Coast community’s support during the project’s construction phase.
“We are very appreciative of the understanding and patience of our community while we got on with the job,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“The connectivity that will now be available both from the capability of this new runway and with our Sunshine Coast International Broadband Cable Network means our region is now well and truly on the map for our attractiveness as a tourist destination and as the ideal, globally-connected place to live, work, recreate, raise a family and run a business.
“This directly reinforces our vision to be Australia’s most sustainable region: healthy, smart, creative.
“Without a doubt, the future is here – and with the added advantage of this new runway, the sky should be well and truly the limit.”
State Development Minister Kate Jones joined council officials to inspect the new runway before the first plane touches down on Sunday.
Ms Jones said the longer runway would allow new direct flights and larger passenger jets to land – enabling more tourists into the region and more cargo to be traded interstate and overseas.
“The Sunshine Coast is a tourism icon but it’s also vital trade hub for hundreds of primary producers in southeast Queensland,” Ms Jones said.
“This runway will be crucial to the economic recovery of the region. It will generate millions of dollars for local businesses through the tourism industry.
At 2450 metres long, the new runway (Runway 13/31) is over half a kilometre longer than the one it replaces.
Ms Jones congratulated the Sunshine Coast Airport and Council on the successful $334 million runway project.
“With a longer runway that’s able to accept bigger planes, we’ll be able to negotiate with airlines to secure direct fights from other destinations – not just Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland,” Ms Jones said.
“In the long-term, we want to bring more tourists to the Sunshine Coast to create more jobs for locals in this sector. New flights are crucial to achieving that.”
The first aircraft is due to arrive on the new runway on Sunday, June 14, 2020.