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Hobart Airport on a Coalition promise

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 16, 2013

Stormy skies clearing over Hobart. Will the Coalition promise be enough to swing the Tasmanian business vote? (Rob Finlayson)

With the federal election now less than a month away, the promises and interest in matters aviation belies the relative indifference shown by the incumbent government and the opposition during the last parliamentary term – and indeed before that.

Discussions about Sydney being prominent in the pre-election rhetoric, Hobart Airport is now on a promise from the Coalition’s Tony Abbott, pledging to lengthen the airport’s runway and further improve infrastructure.

“If elected, the Coalition will invest $38 million to increase the length of the runway at Hobart International Airport and associated works,” Abbott said.

The plan includes the extension of the runway by 500m, obviating payload restrictions and opening up opportunities for larger capacity aircraft.

“Our expectation is that the airport will enter into commercial negotiations with international airlines, charter companies and research providers to ensure that the investment provides value for taxpayers.


The interest in Hobart is an economic one. It – rightly – sees the airport as an economic stimulator, creating jobs, inward investment and inbound tourism which Tasmania needs desperately.

Interestingly, one of the goals is for Hobart to become the primary gateway to the Antarctic, competing with the established base at Christchurch.

“This project will strengthen the Tasmanian economy by allowing for the growth of new Australian businesses specialising in Antarctic station support including equipment, maintenance, medical, construction, and research,” Abbott said.

“The Coalition will work with the Hobart International Airport to help make this project a reality.  The airport will contribute $2 million to the project.

Abbott’s recognition of the airport’s role in the economy marks somewhat of a watershed for contemporary politics – especially if the promise is kept.

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Comments (4)

  • Chris Grealy


    Since the Libs have no costed policies that we have seen, and considering the little problem they had with figures at the last election, this announcement would seem to be pie in the sky.

  • Glen


    How is he going to do this? Either cut the Tasman highway or extend the runway into the sea? (Have a look on Google maps) There doesn’t seem to be enough land at either end of this runway to make this fly. Perhaps he means some OTHER Hobart airport that only he knows about.

  • PeterL


    Talk about pessimistic Chris and Glen…think of the good to Hobart. And Chris yes you can extend into the sea or over the highway….they do this all the time…..Sydney airport has both on runways…..to name just one…..

  • Ben


    @ Glen, There is just enough room if they put 250m on either side of the existing pavement. Just.

    But does the 38M also inclue moving the glide slope antennae or the recalibration of the ILS? Probably not.
    Does it include moving the high intensity approach lighting 250m further into the water of Barilla Bay? Probably not.
    Did they include an enhanced taxiway system to have taxiways to the ends of the runway? Probably not.

    They just costed 500m of high strength runway. They forgot about the rest.

    So you’ll have a bigger runway and ATC will have to put even MORE miles between aircraft to let them backtrack to a taxiway! Come on people this is a capital city airport not a country strip, heck even Launceston has taxiways to the ends of the runway!

    Another half baked idea from politicians with NO idea about aviation.

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