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Canberra Airport expansion will see passenger numbers treble

written by Adam Thorn | February 25, 2020

Canberra Airport will aim to treble passenger numbers from 3 million to 9 million by 2040 under an ambitious “master plan” put forward by the government.

The expansion could include a new runway, international flights to Los Angeles and Tokyo, and an increased freight hub.

The Liberal and National government estimates the strategy will indirectly support more than 37,000 jobs and generate $6.8 billion in economic activity by 2028.

Canberra Airport pitches itself as a HSR hub. (Canberra Airport)
Canberra Airport

Zed Seselja, senator for the ACT, said, “This plan is good for Canberrans who want to travel, and for the Canberra economy, opening more opportunity to bring tourists to our great city.”

The eight-year plan was signed off by the federal government earlier this month but won’t be unveiled in full to the public until 5 March, following amendments from consultations.

The expansion includes:

  • Direct international flights to Fiji, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai and Hong Kong by 2040;
  • Direct domestic flights to Hobart, Darwin, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast;
  • Doubling of flight numbers in the next two decades, up from 170 now;
  • Growing the airport precinct from 14,000 to 36,000 within 20 years;
  • A new freight hub and the growth of the airport’s business park; and
  • The potential for a new light rail station if the public transport network expands.

In 2016, the airport expanded to offer international flights.


Qatar Airways now operates the Airbus A350-1000 to destinations across America, Asia and Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines flies from Canberra to London, Phuket, Koh Samui, Delhi, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Frankfurt and Singapore.

Comments (9)

  • Reina Hill


    What about direct flights to Christchurch and Queenstown?

  • Dave


    If you are going to count the connecting flights with Singapore Airlines via Singapore, then Qantas already services all the target destinations via Sydney or Melbourne

  • Hutch


    Wow! Singapore Airlines flies from Canberra to London? Why is Qantas bothering with project sunrise… The future is here now! I’m not sure why I’ve been going via Sydney when I can fly from Canberra to Phuket, Koh Samui, Delhi, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Frankfurt!

  • Patrickk


    Not sure why a second runway is needed for 10m passengers. Gatwick has 40m passengers with one runway. Canberra Airport over engineering again.

  • CM


    With Canberra going all out for ‘heavy metal’, there won’t be any room for GA. So…. surely the Government (Federal and ACT) must concurrently be keen to (finally) develop and fund a GA/training airport for the ACT region??

  • gra


    What about the governments commitment to reduce emissions????

  • Naomi Pratt


    Where is New Zealand on that list? Auckland? Christchurch?

  • simon west


    support 37000 jobs, where did they pluck that figure
    Liberal party spin….jobs and growf

  • Jono Harris


    Does our nation’s capital not deserve a major airport (and a major global city, for that matter). Glad to see Canberra leveling up.

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