Townsville Airport is to be upgraded significantly, following the Australian Government’s approval yesterday of a 3300-square-metre terminal expansion.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the project was a great addition to the Australian Government’s commitment to invest in northern Australia.
“More than AUD 50 million will be invested in the building, construction, engineering, architectural and other local industries. The project will generate around 116 full time construction jobs and, once completed, is expected to employ approximately 54 people,” Truss said.
It’s envisaged the upgrade will involve an increase in the passenger charge at the airport by AUD 2.50-AUD 3 per person per domestic flight – once the first phase of major works is complete.
The airport will front the cost of the first phase of the redevelopment and the charge will apply to domestic flights only after the first phase of works has been completed in 2017. The charge won’t apply to international services for five years.
Truss said visitors would soon see two new airport lounges, upgraded check-in systems, more seats and expanded retail offerings. Importantly, it will create job opportunities for many local residents – a particularly important outcome for regional Australia.
“The terminal upgrade will support growth in passenger numbers and address major bottlenecks the airport is experiencing.”
Federal Member for Herbert Ewen Jones said the expansion of Townsville Airport’s facilities was essential for the airport to reach its potential.
“The terminal redevelopment will secure the airport’s role as the principal gateway to Townsville and help the airport realise its vision of becoming Northern Australia’s aviation hub,” Jones said.
“Given the recommencement of international services to Bali in September 2015 and increasing passenger numbers, a redevelopment of the terminal is a welcome improvement.
“The last significant infrastructure upgrade was in 2003. Parts of the terminal have already reached capacity in peak periods. Key areas of congestion are in the domestic departure lounge, upper concourse boarding lounge, baggage handling areas and queuing at the security screening area.
“Over the next 20 years, passenger movements are forecast to grow by 2 to 3 percent per year, increasing from 1.5 million in 2015 to 2.6 million passengers in 2035.”
The terminal will operate business-as-usual during construction works, and the airport will implement a staged construction approach to minimise inconvenience and disruption to passengers.
The redevelopment is expected to commence shortly and the majority of works will be completed by mid-2017.
The development will involve the following key features:
- Rationalisation of existing, underutilised office space to double the overall capacity of the departure lounge area.
- Upgrade and expansion of the security screening area to reduce congestion.
- Rationalisation of the existing check-in area to accommodate additional check-in kiosks and deployment of modern common user check in and automatic bag drop facilities.
- The addition of new shop front spaces, which are expected to be occupied by food outlet and other retail.
- Extension of the upper concourse to provide two new club lounge facilities and help meet the growing needs of business travellers.
Written by Peter Needham