$15M airport expansion plan to attract international flights

The airport hopes to eventually cater for international flights.
The airport hopes to eventually cater for international flights. SCOTT POWICK

A $15 MILLION expansion to Whitsunday Coast Airport will get under way next month as the Proserpine facility works towards attracting international long-haul flights.

Whitsunday Regional Council today awarded Paynter Dixon Queensland the tender to construct stage one of the terminal expansion project, which is expected to be completed by November.

The concept terminal expansion will include additional toilets and baggage claim area, doubling the size of the departure lounge, additional departure gate, expanded security and screening area, additional airside toilets, 100 new covered car parks, additional food and beverage seating areas and much more.

Whitsunday region mayor Andrew Willcox said the expansion would improve the customer experience of all passengers passing through the airport.

"Over 20 local sub-contractors and suppliers shared in the recent $25 million runway upgrade project and the winning terminal tenderer has promised to also utilise local contractors whenever possible,” Cr Willcox said.

"I am proud of our local buy policy which supports regional business and equates to creating jobs for locals.

"The terminal upgrade project and the runway upgrade will ensure vital airport infrastructure keeps pace with the forecast growth for the Whitsunday Region," he said.

"I thank the Qld State Government for funding the $15 million terminal expansion project. Without their valuable support this project would not have been possible.”

Mr Willcox said the project was critical to realising the long term vision for the site.

"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,” he said.

"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," Mayor Willcox said.

"There are a total of five stages of the rolling masterplan for development of the airport complex for the long term future.

"Each of the staged developments compliments the previous so nothing is being built and then removed.

"The record passenger numbers we are now welcoming means the terminal requires a significant expansion.”

The concept terminal expansion will include:

  • 100 new covered car parks and covered walkways to the terminal
  • 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.

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