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On Friday I had the privilege of participating in the official opening of the $14.5 million Newcastle Airport terminal expansion and redevelopment project, which was majority funded by the NSW Government’s Hunter Infrastructure and Investment Fund. 

The change in the physical building is remarkable. The building has increased in size by 50 per cent, light fills every public space in the terminal, and our customers now have the choice of six quality food and beverage outlets that provide a variety of offerings, which include many local products. In addition, these new outlets employ more than 50 staff.

We now have an airport that complements the spirit of our region - bright, modern, and ready for the future.  Our region now has an airport it deserves.

To unveil to our region the stunning finished product, which was the long-term vision of my predecessor, allows Newcastle Airport to achieve its next phase of growth.

My vision for our airport is to provide better connectivity, to work with our community, and provide a quality customer experience.

Recent announcements by local airlines showing they’re operating in the black combined with lower overhead costs - such as the price of oil being the lowest it’s been in five years - means the airlines are currently in a sweet-spot. These lower overhead costs combined with increased capacity in airline fleets are timed perfectly with the opening of our terminal; this gives us the ability to take on more services we couldn’t have previously.

Newcastle Airport has a catchment boundary of the Central Coast to the south, the Upper Hunter to the west, and Port Macquarie to the north. In total this is approximately 1.2 million people.

Hailing from Perth, I see the potential this airport has. Perth Airport has a catchment of 2.5 million people. This catchment sustains a significant number of direct international and domestic services. 

While Newcastle is different to Perth, in that our catchment has a choice to use Sydney Airport, it is my vision to convert the number of people who don’t use our airport to become Newcastle Airport passengers.  If Perth can sustain a slew of international and domestic services, there’s no reason why Newcastle can’t.

Having worked in the aviation industry for more than a decade, I am well aware that new services aren’t simply a light-switch that can be turned on. Just because we have a new terminal doesn’t necessarily mean that we will get new services. I’m working with my team to actively engage with airlines with the end goal of providing our region the services you have been long-demanding.

It is becoming difficult for the airlines to dismiss our region. The fact that Williamtown is becoming a real aerospace hub: on the other side of the runway to us is RAAF Base Williamtown which is currently undergoing $1 billion in upgrades; on our airport site we have the Jetstar heavy maintenance facility, BAE; and adjacent to us is Lockheed Martin and the Mercure Newcastle Airport.

Newcastle Airport recently recorded its best July on record, this shows that our market continues to love flying and our region continues to attract visitors to our wonderful and diverse tourism products. Being new to Newcastle I am one of those people that “never knew” how great this region is.

I am convinced that our region has the opportunity to provide not only one of the best tourism experiences in New South Wales but one of the best tourism experiences in Australia. I truly believe that is something we can capitalise on when attracting the domestic and international markets.

The Newcastle Airport you will experience today really sets the benchmark for regional aviation in terms of design, build, and customer service. The building we have today has been the work of local architects and local builders who have provided jobs for our region and the end result is connectivity for our region to the rest of Australia and beyond.  


Image | Newcastle Airport CEO Peter Cock and Chairman Peter Gesling at the unveiling of the $14.5 million Newcastle Airport terminal expansion.

 
Comments
Chris Boshier
07-Oct-2015 09:31 AM
Amanda
02-Jan-2016 09:12 AM
Jason Carr
03-Jan-2016 05:16 PM
Janine Currie
12-Jan-2016 05:23 PM
Tania
27-Mar-2016 03:12 PM
Rosemary
20-Apr-2016 08:58 PM
Roger Fortune
11-Aug-2016 04:23 PM
Chris Boshier
07-Oct-2015 09:31 AM
Amanda
02-Jan-2016 09:12 AM
Jason Carr
03-Jan-2016 05:16 PM
Janine Currie
12-Jan-2016 05:23 PM
Tania
27-Mar-2016 03:12 PM
Rosemary
20-Apr-2016 08:58 PM
Roger Fortune
11-Aug-2016 04:23 PM
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Becoming international ready-Airport_news



In 2016 Newcastle Airport received notification that its application for a Restart NSW grant had been successful. This $855,000 grant will be used towards the funding of the $1.6 million fit-out for the border agency requirements. Until now, Newcastle Airport had only the dedicated terminal space for international passenger processing, not the necessary infrastructure to be able to have international flights to-and-from the airport.

In April, Newcastle Airport announced Hunter-based builder, Kingston Building had been awarded the $1.6 million project. This project involved the installation of the necessary security technology, IT technology, passenger screening equipment, and furniture for the border agencies. Now complete, ahead of schedule which is a credit to Kingston Building  who's managers saw the project executed  to the highest standard with no lost time to injury, ensuring it came in ahead of schedule and ahead of budget.

And, while we haven't got any announcements on the horizon about direct flights to new destinations just yet, here is a sneak peek below of what you can expect when we do get to use our new facilities. You will see we're international ready for when an airline says YES!



Frequently Asked Questions

Does this mean that international flights will start right away?

We wish we could say with certainty yes. But, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
Completing this project doesn’t guarantee international flights will start from Newcastle Airport in the near future. But, what it does mean is that from an infrastructure perspective, we have done everything we need to do to prepare our terminal in readiness for international fights.
You can read more about what we’re doing behind the scenes to bring more services to Newcastle here  

Will I get to use the new facilities when I fly domestically?

No. Our new facilities will only be used fro international departures and arrivals.

How is this project funded?

This project has been partly funded through the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Fund and by Newcastle Airport.

Where will you fly to first?

That is a good question and one we are working hard to answer! We are looking at short-haul destinations like Fiji and Bali or New Zealand. It's a long race we're running but we are committed to doing everything we can to bring new services, both domestic and international, to Newcastle Airport to give our region an airport it deserves.

I hate sitting in Sydney traffic, how do I fly out of Newcastle overseas?

We couldn’t agree with you more! That Sydney freeway trip can really take its toll. If you were keen on starting your trip from Newcastle we can hub to more 65 destinations world-wide in just one stop.



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Fancy leaving the chill of winter to holiday on some of the best stretch of coast Northern NSW has to offer?

Catch a plane to Byron this season and you’ll be in paradise in no time. With average winter temperatures around 19 degrees and clear sunny days this cosmopolitan spot is the perfect place to soak up some rays and explore a region that is rich in culture and diversity.

What’s more winter is the perfect time to enjoy a spot of whale watching as Australian east coast humpbacks migrate.

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Ballina is just 5 minutes from Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and Byron is under 30 minutes drive.
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Looking for all-inclusive? Byron Bay
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*This article first published in the Newcastle Herald 

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