23 February 2020

Airport set to give Canberra region travellers more overseas links

| Ian Bushnell
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Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport is looking to extend its international links across the Pacific and into Asia over the next 20 years. Photo: Canberra Airport.

Canberra Airport is expecting to clinch direct connections to China, New Zealand and Vanuatu within the next eight years and double daily flight movements by 2040, according to its new Master Plan.

The Federal Government has announced that the Airport’s 2020 Master Plan has been approved, and the airport expects to release it to the public on 5 March after some minor changes.

The Airport says by 2040 Canberrans will be able to fly direct to iconic overseas holiday destinations with its international reach extending across the Pacific to Fiji, Hawaii, and Los Angeles; and to the Asian centres of Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong, while adding Dubai to its Middle Eastern link.

The Master Plan, a 20-year strategic vision that will ensure appropriate development and cater for growth forecasts, says the Airport expects to see more than nine million passengers by 2040, including one million international travellers.

At present, the Airport says it serves nearly a million people in the greater Canberra region.

The 170 domestic and international aircraft movements a day are expected to double over the next 20 years, with Canberra increasingly serving as a freight hub, particularly with Canberra Airport being the only Boeing 747-capable airport without a curfew between Brisbane and Melbourne.

Proposed flights

The airport currently serves more than three million passengers per year, forecast to rise to more than nine million by 2040 if all goes to plan. Image: Canberra Airport.

The Canberra Airport is already one of the ACT’s biggest employment centres, with 14,000 people currently working in the precinct, and it is forecast to increase to 36,000 by 2040.

Head of Aviation Michael Thomson said that within the next five to eight years Canberra Airport would be working to bring in more international and low-cost carriers, resulting in more passengers than ever before.

“The airport currently serves more than three million passengers per year, but those numbers are forecast to rise to more than nine million by 2040 if all goes to plan. Canberra Airport’s ethos is to invest early to provide room for growth,” Mr Thomson said.

Earlier this month Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he had been meeting Air New Zealand officials to continue the push to reinstate direct flights across the Tasman, as well as discussing low-cost carriers with the Airport and teeing up talks with Singapore Airlines.

Last year he met with China Southern Airlines and representatives from Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou and Beijing Capital International Airport, as well as China’s Civil Aviation Administration, to pursue direct flights between China and Canberra.

China is the ACT’s largest international tourist market and about 5000 Chinese students study in Canberra.

Announcing the Master Plan’s approval, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Plan paved the way for better infrastructure and expanded capacity at the Airport.

“The airport and these developments are expected to indirectly support more than 37,000 jobs and generate $6.8 billion in economic activity by 2028,” Mr McCormack said.

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said the Master Plan set out a number of proposed developments over the planning period, including a freight hub and the continued growth of the airport’s business parks.

“This Plan is good for Canberrans who want to travel, and for the Canberra economy, opening more opportunity to bring tourists to our great city,” he said.

Approval of the 2020 Master Plan follows a comprehensive statutory referral and consultation and the Airport will now not have to submit a new Master Plan for eight years after having previously been on a five-year cycle.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on The RiotACT.

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