A major upgrade of the Sunshine Coast Airport is getting closer to take-off, with the federal government committing $181 million to the project.
The money will be provided in a concessional loan to help finance construction of a new 2.45km runway to cater for larger aircraft, and extensions of the airport’s terminal.
Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson told reporters at the airport on Thursday the funding removes any doubt about the future of the project.
“It reinforces very favourably with the bidders who are currently involved in our expression of interest process, which we hope to have finalised also in the next couple of weeks,” Mr Jamieson said.
Up until this stage our ability to participate in international tourism has been severely limited by access. This new airport will solve that problem.”
The upgrade will open up the region to more international and domestic destinations and deliver more than 1500 direct jobs.
In particular the mayor hopes the upgraded airport attracts visitors from the lucrative south-east Asian and Chinese markets.
“We talk in Queensland tourism of having a million Chinese customers by 2020. Well we surpassed that this year, so by 2020 it might be five million,” Mr Jamieson said.
“A modest share of that coming into the Sunshine Coast would make a huge difference.”