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Newcastle Airport foresees daily international flights post-upgrade

written by Jake Nelson | April 11, 2024

The terminal at Newcastle Airport. (Image: Newcastle Airport)

Newcastle Airport could seek daily international flights, including to New Zealand and destinations in southeast Asia, once its upgrades are complete.

The airport in the NSW Hunter region has enough demand for two daily flights to Singapore and regular Pacific services, according to data from Tourism Research Australia. A report by the airport indicated passengers would want to fly from Newcastle to hubs such as Singapore for onward travel.

“Other hub destinations could include places like Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, Middle East airports such as Dubai or Doha connecting on to Europe, or Pacific airports such as Auckland or Nadi (Fiji) with their connections to US and Canada,” the report read.

Newcastle Airport is currently carrying out upgrades partly funded by a $55 million grant from the federal government, which will see an overhaul to its international terminal, including passenger and border processing facilities, to better support international flights to and from the airport.

Originally slated to be completed this year, the terminal overhaul will now be finished in 2025.


According to Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock, many passengers from the Hunter choose to fly from Sydney Airport instead of Newcastle due to its international connections. The airport is roughly a two-hour drive north of Sydney and currently has no international services.

“We know the demand locally is good, but we don’t have the airport facilities right now,” he told the Newcastle Herald.

“Getting airline flights is a very competitive business. It can take years to get a new route established. But once you do, gee the rewards are amazing.”

Aside from international flights, which depend on the upgrades, the airport believes there is enough demand for three daily services to Perth, which could begin immediately.

“Perth is a big population centre that’s really important and critical to our community that we’re not connected to,” said Dr Cock.

“Obviously there is tourism. Beyond that, there will always be miners in the Hunter and Perth, and even after the energy transition, some of them will want to keep mining. We can help them get there directly.”

Local business group Business Hunter, in a pre-budget submission, has called on the NSW government to set up a $15 million aviation fund over three years to attract new flights, which Newcastle Airport would match dollar for dollar.

“Air route development is highly competitive, with Australian state governments and other countries actively contributing to the attraction of new air services to their regions,” the submission read.

“Partnerships are essential to developing new routes, and NSW is the only state not to offer funding to attract airlines at present. With airlines subject to restricted fleet numbers, this lack of funding places the Hunter Region and NSW at a competitive disadvantage when compared to interstate destinations.

“With Newcastle Airport serving as the origin and termination point for flights, frequencies and scheduling options are vastly increased, enabling game-changing connectivity between the Hunter and new inter/intrastate destinations for both passengers and freight.”

Newcastle Airport currently sees domestic flights by Bonza, Eastern Air Services, FlyPelican, Jetstar, Link Airways, QantasLink, and Virgin Australia.

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