Queensland Airports Ltd says the redevelopment of Gold Coast Airport will be partly funded by $100 million of “sustainability-linked loans” from Commonwealth Bank and Westpac.
The operator of Gold Coast Airport says it is the first time an Australian airport has taken out a loan of this type, which are linked to efforts aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
Queensland Airports Ltd chief financial officer Amelia Evans said initiatives included replacing lighting with LED, upgrading air conditioning units and using energy efficient drive motors for the airport’s baggage handling system.
Further, Evans said sustainability initiatives planned for the Gold Coast Airport’s southern terminal expansion including lighting controls and energy efficient chillers.
“By working in partnership with our financiers, we can achieve a number of mutual benefits, such as these unique sustainability-linked loans,” Evans said in a statement on Wednesday.
In March, Gold Coast Airport said it had achieved a Level 2 accreditation under the Airports Council International’s (ACI) Airport Carbon Accreditation program.
Evans said the sustainability-linked loans were part of the Gold Coast Airport’s commitment to its environment, social and governance (ESG) work.
“ESG is an area QAL is increasingly focused on, and we have already delivered several sustainability projects across our airports in the past few years,” Evans said in a statement on Wednesday.
Evans said Queensland Airports Ltd had also worked on reducing carbon emissions at other airports in its portfolio, such as installing of solar panels at Mount Isa and Longreach airports, as well as system upgrades at Townsville.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast Airport said on Monday the foundation works for its southern terminal expansion was due to get underway by the end of the week.
The airport said plans to build the new three-level terminal located at the southern end of the current facility.
The terminal, which has been earmarked as the primary area for international flights, would have twice the floor space of the existing terminal and include aerobridges for boarding and disembarkation.
The aerobridges would also be swing gates that can be used for domestic flights at times when they are no international flights. The airport also planned to keep a mix of aerobridge gates and ground level gates.
The ground floor slab would be complete “in coming months”, while the project was expected to be completed in mid-2021.
The airport also plans to refurbish its existing terminal once the new southern terminal is complete.
“This project will change the face of the Gold Coast and northern New South Wales and deliver a gateway that Australia’s leading tourism destination deserves,” Queensland Airports Limited chief executive Chris Mills said in a statement.
“Importantly, the project will address current capacity issues while paving the way for future passenger growth.
The airport handled 6.52 million passengers in calendar 2018, down marginally from 6.5 million in the prior year. The airport’s most recent master plan, which was approved in 2017, has forecast annual passenger numbers rising to 16.6 million by 2037.