Newcastle Airport changes pitch to NSW government for runway, terminal upgrades – curated and collated by Matthew George, Urban Activation.
Originally published by Michael Parris for the Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Airport has offered to pay for part of its planned upgrade in the hope of landing state government funding for the project. The airport announced in July that it had signed a three-year deal with Virgin to fly to Auckland three times a week over summer after a successful trial of the service in 2018-19.
The Newcastle Herald reported in February that the airport, which is jointly owned by Newcastle and Port Stephens councils, had asked the government for $147 million for a new terminal and runway upgrades which could unlock new routes into New Zealand, Asia, and America.
51 Albert Street, Auckland rising above the skyline of Auckland in exceptional demand.
Chief executive Peter Cock said on Friday that the airport had written to the government in recent weeks offering to help fund the runway improvements in partnership with the state and the Department of Defence.
He said the new funding structure would “significantly” reduce the state government’s contribution.
The government has prepared a report on the project after assessing its merits this year.
“We thought there was an ability for us as an airport to contribute funding. We’re talking about different models around how that can happen,” Dr Cock said.
“We’ve been thinking about it because we really want this to go ahead, how can we make this the most attractive deal possible, and it was in part a response to feedback we got from them.
Walk-in Robe in 51 Albert Street, Auckland, float above the clouds in these stunning apartments soon with more flights from Newcastle.
“The detailed work they did showed that the actual government contribution required was significantly less than originally forecast.”
The project’s total bill is still unclear, but a new double-story passenger terminal with Customs facilities could cost about $55 million.
Defence had planned to resurface the runway next year but has now pushed back those works until 2023. The airport hopes to strengthen and widen the runway at the same time to allow for larger passenger planes to take off and land.
Dr Cock and the airport’s executive manager of corporate affairs, Steve Crowe, are at the World Routes conference in Adelaide this weekend to spread the word on Williamtown’s planned improvements. The conference is an annual gathering of industry representatives with a focus on developing global air route strategies.
Dr Cock and Mr Crowe will meet with domestic carriers, including Virgin, Jetstar and Qantas, as well as Fiji Airways, Air Asia, Malaysia Airlines and Air New Zealand.
Commercial aircraft flying out of Newcastle have a range limited to near neighbours such as Bali and Auckland, but a new runway would open up flights to the US west coast, China and the Middle East.
“We actually need to start thinking about definitely the Asia-Pac region but maybe more broadly. We need to lift our sights to global,” Dr Cock said.
“Three years away, that’s the horizon airlines start planning on. You’d want to be signing a contract with an airline at least a year out from them starting.
“We’re going to be saying that we’re working really hard to make this happen and they should consider it as a real possibility and Newcastle should be on their radar.”
The airport has compiled a business case which predicts a boost of $6.2 billion over 20 years to the regional economy if the project goes ahead.
The airport announced in July that it had signed a three-year deal with Virgin to fly to Auckland three times a week over summer after a successful trial of the service in 2018-19.
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