Fast-forward 14 months and construction of the 2,600sqm extension is well underway as part of a A$14.5 million project that will also involve a complete refurbishment of the existing facilities.
Located in Australia’s Hunter Region around a two-hour drive north of Sydney, Newcastle Airport (NTL) serves a catchment of 1.1 million people in an area that is best known for its local wineries and beaches.
Newcastle also has a busy port, in fact more coal is exported through it than any other in the world. And, according to David Nye, the airport’s manager for aviation business development, NTL serves as the gateway to a diverse tourism offering that includes “world-class beaches, the largest lake in the southern hemisphere and the internationally renowned Hunter Valley Wine region”.
The region’s appeal ensures that it handles around 1.2 million passengers annually and currently boasts domestic services to Sydney, Melbourne and the Australian Eastern Seaboard cities/destinations of Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Ballina/Byron Bay and Taree.
According to Nye, the expanded terminal will continue to facilitate the needs of NTL’s low-cost carriers, principally Jetstar and Virgin Australia, which are the two biggest airlines in Newcastle in terms of market share.
Added in the first phase of a two-phase development programme, the 2,600sqm extension to the terminal will become the airport’s new Arrivals Hall and house permanent customs, immigration and quarantine facilities.
Once the extension is complete, the airport will start work on refurbishing the existing terminal, a project that will include transforming the current Arrivals Hall into a new-look departure lounge, which will incorporate more than twice the number of retail outlets as today.
“For a regional airport, this is a significant investment into our facilities, but we do so with confidence because in the past decade people across our region have shown their desire to travel and take advantage of the services being offered at their local airport,” says Nye.
“Our end goal is to ensure that we build a facility that provides us with flexibility and will allow us to grow both domestic and international services.
“By the end of 2015, I am confident that passengers will consider our facilities and services amongst the best in Australia. I am also confident that by this time next year
we will have, or be very close to having, scheduled international services operating from our region.”