Newcastle Airport has given an update on the status of its international terminal upgrade six months after breaking ground.
Despite the opening being delayed to next year, several key milestones are “on track” according to airport management, with the old terminal demolished, columns for the new border agency installed, work underway on lift pits and baggage tunnels, and a concrete slab poured last week.
“We expect the project to be active in the end of quarter two in calendar year 25, so it’s a few months. That’s something that’s plaguing all infrastructure projects at the moment, so we’re not immune to that,” said airport CEO Dr Peter Cock at a press conference.
“As with budgets, every time you open a tender document you got to see what comes out. And so there is pressure on our budget, but we’re actually trying to cut our cloth and make sure that we can deliver what we need within our means.”
According to Cock, Newcastle is seeing interest in international destinations such as Singapore, as well as some Middle Eastern carriers and domestic networks.
“They really see the advantage that our region brings. We’re not the Sydney market and in fact, airlines like Bonza are drawing people up from Sydney into our airport. So, they see that we’re a different catchment and they see the economic opportunities we bring,” he said.
The international terminal upgrade has been enabled in part by a $55 million grant from the federal Ggovernment. Speaking to media at the press conference, Federal Transport Minister Catherine King said the government is committed to investing in Newcastle’s transport infrastructure.
“It’s not just about the jobs. We’ve got 40 people on site today, we’ll have more as this project gets out of the ground. But really what this is about is about the future economic activity of the region overall,” she said.
“This project alone has been estimated to generate about $12 billion worth of economic activity in the years ahead. And we’re very proud as an Albanese Labor Government to be part of this project.”
The airport secured the federal grant funding ahead of the 2022 election, with both major parties pledging the terminal upgrade to follow on from the airport’s $66 million runway upgrade.
The works coincide with upgrades by the RAAF, which owns the airstrip at the adjoining Williamtown base, meaning if the airport had not secured the money in time it would have had to wait until the next scheduled upgrades in approximately 2040.
Newcastle Airport signed a $240 million financing deal with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in April last year, which will fund capital projects not covered by the grants, such as at its Astra Aerolab defence and aerospace precinct.