Canberra Airport to be international… eventually

In Australian Capital Territory, Australian Domestic Tourism, Government, National Headlines, Transport

Canberra Airport outlines plans for international flights, freight hub

From abc.net.au, 17th March 2014

The Canberra Airport has outlined plans to establish itself as a defence and freight hub over the next two decades.

The airport’s draft master plan for the next 20 years of development looks at expanding the site by taking advantage of military operations already located in the ACT and a potential freight overflow from Sydney.

Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron wants the national capital to take on international flights, particularly to Asia.

“Certainly we’ve got a brand new terminal that is handling 3 million people, but it can handle up to 8 million people without any further expansion,” he said.

“It is international ready and we’ve also got a 747 capable runway.

“That will be the backbone of growth over the next 20 years of the airport development.”

Mr Byron says the next step is talking to airlines about when they want to commence international services.

He says the airport’s future growth and development is closely linked to the Canberra economy.

“Cutbacks in the public service, and significantly for us its travel budget, have shown that our region can no longer rely on the public sector as the driver of economic
activity,” he said.

“Our future lies in diversifying and attracting new businesses and industries, particularly those that reflect the strengths of our region.

“Smart offerings in education, tourism, IT, defence and security, transport, light manufacturing and niche agricultural opportunities.”

The draft master plan also includes proposed ACT Government developments such as a light rail link to Canberra’s CBD.

Treasurer Andrew Barr has previously offered budget money for a marketing campaign with airlines that want to offer direct international flights to Canberra.

Mr Barr will travel to Singapore to lobby airlines to add flights to Canberra.

“What we are looking to do is put the best case forward for this region,” he said.

“There’s 400,000 people within the ACT, another 400,000 to 500,000 where Canberra Airport is the closest major airport.

“We think it is a compelling case.”

The master plan is open for public consultation until mid-June.

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