Bendigo Airport has cut the ribbon on its new runway, with federal, state and local government representatives joining the local community for the official celebrations.
Senator for Victoria Jane Hume said the new 1,600m long by 30m wide Class 3C runway would allow a broader ranger of aircraft to fly into and out of Bendigo and and facilitate the possibility of regular public transport (RPT) services.
“The new runway and taxiways will enable larger aircraft carrying 70 passengers or up to 30 tonnes to land at the airport, providing the region with the opportunity to operate regular passenger transport and export services,” Senator Hume said in a statement on Friday.
“The upgrades will ensure critical emergency services such as Air Ambulance, firefighting operations and disaster relief will continue to be based in Bendigo and service the Loddon Mallee region.”
The old runway was restricted to aircraft weighing less than 5,700kg.
Stage one of the airport’s redevelopment included the development of 25 additional general aviation hangar sites, along with new taxiways, improved road access, drainage infrastructure and stormwater management.
In addition to the new runway, stage two of the project also comprised new lighting, fencing and associated apron infrastructure.
Federal Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the airport played a vital role in the future growth and development of Bendigo as a “third gateway” to the region alongside road and rail access.
The third and final stage of the project will be the development of 12 hectares of land alongside the airport for a business park.
“Council looks forward to embarking on the next chapter of the airport redevelopment project, the construction of an airside business park, and seeing the airport become a major generator of employment in the region,” City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O’Rourke said.
Construction of the new runway was completed in February, while work on additional taxiways and an upgraded apron finished earlier in May.
The Bendigo Flyers Club posted some photos of about 20 aircraft that took off from the runway when it first became operational in February on its Facebook page.