Airport readies for NZ flights
THE first international passengers will touch down on Sunshine Coast soil this weekend following the official opening of the international terminal yesterday.
The million dollar airport expansion, which took two years to complete, will result in 168 people flying in twice weekly from New Zealand.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said it was the beginning of a new era in tourism and business.
"The new terminal marks the beginning of the Sunshine Coast's developing relationships with world markets," Cr Jamieson said.
"It sends a message to the nation and to the world that the Sunshine Coast is now an international destination."
In addition to the new terminal, council will spend more than $3 million implementing a master plan, which includes a new runway estimated to be worth $1.6 billion to the region by 2020.
An additional $3 million will be spent on maintenance and upgrades of the airport.
An Environmental Impact Statement for the expansion has been released, highlighting the project and its benefits.
However a report out this week criticised regional airports, despite an estimated profit growth through international arrivals.
The Deloitee report found that only 45% of regional airports turn a profit.
It found that a trend towards larger and heavier aircraft on regional routes had increased maintenance requirements for both terminal facilities and runways.
"There are substantial costs associated with maintaining runway taxiways, aprons, navigational aids, refuelling and ground handling services," Australian Airports Association executive director Caroline Wilkie said.