Government approves Gold Coast Airport redevelopment

An aerial image of Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport)

 

Gold Coast Airport has received the green light to begin construction on new aircraft stands and aerobridges as well as a terminal upgrade.

The federal government on Friday gave its approval for the airport to start work on the airport redevelopment, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017 and will cater for the forecast increase in visitors to the Gold Coast in 2018, when the city hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said passenger numbers at Gold Coast Airport were expected to grow from six million passengers a year currently to 16.3 million in 2031.

“The major redevelopment of the airport will almost double the size of the terminal, expand the apron to accommodate five additional aircraft stands and incorporate four new aerobridges — a facility long awaited by travellers,” Truss said in a statement.

“The expansion will also include a consolidated ground transport facility incorporating: a relocated taxi staging area; covered boarding for coaches, mini-buses and limousines; covered pedestrian walkways; and circulation roads for all ground transport modes.”

Stage one of the project involves upgrading the southern end of the airport, including a terminal development, building three new Code E aircraft parking stands (for the likes of Boeing 777s, 787s and Airbus A330s and A350s) and two aerobridges, Gold Coast Airport said in July 2015.

A consultation paper published in 2015 showed Gold Coast’s current apron had capacity for 11 aircraft stands comprising three Code E and eight Code C (for Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s) aircraft. This was two short of forecast demand for 13 stands in 2015.

Moreover, the lack of available space was particularly felt during the morning peak periods, when the bulk of international flights from Asia arrived at the airport.

“By 2018, it is forecast that the apron capacity will be exceeded by two stands and by 2021, the apron capacity will be exceeded by four stands,” the paper said.

“If action is not taken to further develop aviation facilities at the airport by 2018, it will significantly limit the airport’s ability to service the future domestic and international passenger demand and address the current capacity issues.”

Truss said about 117,000 visitors, 5,000 athletes, 2,000 officials and 2,700 media representatives were expected to travel to the Gold Coast for the once-every-four-years sporting event.

Further, he said about 230 full time jobs would be created during construction, while there would be 180 additional full-time jobs created once the terminal expansion is finished.

The Minister, who on Thursday announced he was retiring from politics and would not contest the next election, said the apron and taxiway expansion would be completed in two stages, with the second stage to be finished by early 2021.

In January, the government also approved Gold Coast Airport’s proposal to install an instrument landing system (ILS) for flights landing from the north on Runway 14.

 

Australian Aviation

 

Gold Coast ILS project approved

An aerial image of Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport)

Gold Coast Airport has received the green light to install an Instrument Landing System (ILS) as part of efforts to reduce the number of missed approaches, diversions and delays due to weather.

The ILS, which assists pilots on equipped aircraft with a precise radio navigation aid, will be installed for flights landing from the north on Runway 14, which the airport has said previously is the direction about two-thirds of all flights land.

Construction was expected to be completed in 2017, in time for the city’s hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Currently, Gold Coast was the only airport among the Australia’s top 12 busiest airports that currently did not have an ILS. The airport has the satellite based landing system Required Navigation Performance (RNP), as well High Intensity Runway Edge Lighting (HIRL) installed in 2012.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said there had been an average of 50 diversions a year at the South East Queensland airport due to weather, in addition to “many more missed approaches and aircraft that never left their port of origin due to the forecast weather conditions at the Gold Coast”.

“The ILS will help to reduce diversions, aircraft circling, missed approaches and flight cancellations in poor weather conditions,” Truss said in a statement on Monday.

“This will reduce the inconvenience and impost on passengers, airlines, airport retail businesses, transport operators and other stakeholders due to flight disruptions.”

While the new system was expected to improve the airport’s operational performance, Truss noted the concerns of locals who fear extra aircraft noise given the aircraft would need to make a longer approach from the north when the ILS was in use.

To that end, Airservices has been advised to “make every effort to minimise the use of the ILS while meeting air safety requirements”, Truss said. The Minister added the ILS was expected to be used for “no more than 10 per cent of the time” on fine weather days and when Runway 14 was in use. And there would be no change to Gold Coast Airport’s 2300 to 0600 curfew.

“No additional residents will be exposed to noise levels greater than 60dB(A) in these conditions. By way of reference, 60dB(A) is roughly equivalent to the noise level of normal conversation and 70dB(A) is similar to the noise of a nearby passing car,” Truss said.

“Maximum use of the ILS will occur on extremely bad weather days when runway 14 is in use, which is around 10 days per year.

“I expect Airservices to work collaboratively with the Airport, airline industry and community in designing Noise Abatement Procedures which prioritise RNP and other existing approach procedures above the ILS.

“The majority of arrivals to Gold Coast Airport are from ports to the south. For these aircraft, the existing visual and instrument approaches are shorter and require less fuel and will continue to be preferred.

Also, Truss said the airport’s most frequent users were “committed to continue using current approach procedures to help minimise aircraft noise impacts, unless an ILS approach is specifically required”.

The airport currently handled about six million passengers a year, with the number expected to rise to 16.3 million by 2031.

The proposed ILS installation at Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport/Airservices)

Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer Marion Charlton welcomed the federal government’s decision.

“The introduction of the ILS forms part of Gold Coast Airport’s platform for contributing to the economic prosperity of the GoldCoast, south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales regions for decades to come,” Charlton said in a statement.

“We want to thank all of our stakeholders who have contributed to the Major Development Plan and we look forward to working with all of them as the project moves into the implementation phase.”

While there had been some opposition to the ILS from local residents, Gold Coast Airport said independent research from JWS Research found the project was supported by the majority of the community.

Gold Coast Airport said 74 per cent of residents backed the introduction of the ILS, while 65 per cent of those living under the flight path area also approved the project.

“Only 15 per cent of residents oppose the ILS, including just 23 per cent who live in the new flight-path area,” Gold Coast Airport said.

Truss said there would be a 12-to-18-month post-implementation review after the ILS was commissioned covering noise monitoring and reporting.

The Minister also “strongly encouraged” Gold Coast Airport to be “alert to further technological advancements” such as Ground-Based Augmentation Sytstem, “should they become available for implementation using a curved approach over water to the airport.”

 

Australian Aviation

Hong Kong Airlines to start Gold Coast flights in January 2016

 

Hong Kong Airlines will launch direct flights between Hong Kong and the Gold Coast early next year, in what would be the first Australian route for the airline.

From January 2016 the airline will fly from Hong Kong to Australia non-stop but will detour via Cairns on the return, with the now-seasonal flights slated to end on March 31 2016.

“While this is an important first step, it is hoped that the success of the charter series will ultimately lead to a longer-term year-round scheduled service with Hong Kong Airlines into the Gold Coast,” said Gold Coast Tourism CEO Martin Winter.

“These seasonal services have been secured thanks to a partnership between Gold Coast Tourism, Gold Coast Airport, Cairns Airport and Tourism and Events Queensland,” added Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones.

While Qantas and Cathay Pacific both fly from Brisbane to Hong Kong, this would be the first service from the Gold Coast.

The flights would run on Hong Kong Airlines’ Airbus A330s fitted with both business and economy class cabins.

The airline also has 15 advanced Airbus A350 jets on order for delivery from 2018.

 

Australian Business Traveller

Gold Coast Airport seeking feedback on proposed terminal redevelopment

An aerial image of Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport)
An aerial image of Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport)

Gold Coast Airport plans to start construction of new aircraft stands and aerobridges in early 2016 in order to meet the growth in passenger traffic expected in the years ahead.

Stage one of the project involves upgrading the southern end of the airport, including a terminal development, building three new Code E aircraft parking stands (for the likes of Boeing 777s, 787s and Airbus A330s and A350s) and two aerobridges.

Construction is expected to start in early 2016 and be completed by the end of 2017, which will be in time for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. The event is expected to bring about 126,000 visitors, athletes, officials, and media to the city.

Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer David Collins said the redevelopment, which also included refurbishing the existing terminal space to boost checkin, arrivals and passenger processing areas, would ensure the airport is able to cope with the expected growth in passenger traffic.

“Recent investigations have found the capacity of aircraft parking stands is currently exceeded at peak times, and if no action is taken to provide additional aircraft parking by 2018 access to the airport would need to be restricted,” Collins said in a statement on Tuesday.

“This could significantly impact the airport’s ability to service future domestic and international passenger demand.”

The Project LIFT (Lets Invest For Tomorrow) consultation paper showed Gold Coast’s current apron had capacity for 11 aircraft stands comprising three Code E and eight Code C (for Boeing 737s or Airbus A320s) aircraft. This was two short of forecast demand for 13 stands in 2015.

Moreover, the lack of available space was particularly felt during the morning peak periods, when the bulk of international flights from Asia arrive at the airport.

“By 2018, it is forecast that the apron capacity will be exceeded by two stands and by 2021, the apron capacity will be exceeded by four stands,” the paper said.

“If action is not taken to further develop aviation facilities at the airport by 2018, it will significantly limit the airport’s ability to service the future domestic and international passenger demand and address the current capacity issues.”

Queensland Airports Ltd, the owner and operator of Gold Coast Airport, is investing $200 million towards the redevelopment, which is expected to create 230 full-time jobs during stage one of construction and 180 full-time workers for ongoing operations when complete.

“This significant investment demonstrates our confidence in the Gold Coast and its ongoing role as a major contributor to the Queensland and New South Wales economies,” QAL managing director Dennis Chant said.

“Project LIFT will allow us to meet forecast demand for the next eight years while also creating additional employment, generating further economic activities, and providing capacity for future growth.”

The full details proposed development can be found on the airport’s website. There consultation period for public comments lasts for 80 business days and closes on September 30.

Separately, Gold Coast Airport is also currently seeking feedback on the proposed installation of an instrument landing system (ILS). The consultation period for the ILS closes on July 13.

Tourism bodies have expressed support for the ILS.

 

Australan Aviation

Scoot launches Boeing 787 on direct Gold Coast-Singapore flights

Scoot launches Boeing 787 on direct Gold Coast-Singapore flights

Singapore Airlines’ low-cost offshoot Scoot will bring flying its latest Boeing 787-9 jet to the Gold Coast from Friday May 1st and move to direct flights to Singapore, dropping the route’s current ‘Singapore via Sydney’ triangle which runs several days a week.

The Gold Coast upgrade also makes Australia an ‘all Dreamliner’ market for Scoot, as more of the airline’s ageing Boeing 777s are put out to pasture.

Scoot already flies the Boeing 787 to Perth and Sydney, and the airline’s new Melbourne-Singapore route will launch with five Boeing 787 flights a week from November 1st.

The move from Scoot’s current ageing Boeing 777-200 jets to the all-new Dreamliners will be a substantial upgrade with the Boeing 787 offering a quieter and smoother ride with more comfort and less jetlag.

The airline has also outfitted its new planes with new business class seats and inflight Internet.

Australian Business Traveller

Gold Coast Airport, Airservices release proposal for instrument landing system

Gold Coast Airport terminal
Gold Coast Airport terminal

Gold Coast Airport and Airservices Australia have released plans to install an instrument landing system (ILS) to help reduce the number of missed approaches, diversions and delays due to weather.

The ILS, which assists pilots on equipped aircraft with a precise radio navigation aid, is proposed for flights landing from the north on Runway 14, which the airport says is the direction about two-thirds of all flights land.

The preliminary draft major development plan noted Gold Coast was the only airport among the Australia’s top 12 busiest airports that currently did not have an ILS.

Currently, Gold Coast Airport has the satellite based landing system Required Navigation Performance (RNP), as well High Intensity Runway Edge Lighting (HIRL) that was installed in 2012.

“Although RNP has improved the landing success rate on runway 14, an ILS will provide additional benefit allowing aircraft to land in all but the most severe weather conditions,” the major development plan said.

“All users of the airport (including passengers, family and friends of passengers, airlines, business owners, ground transport services and the wider community) will benefit from a landing system capable of minimising the number of missed approaches and diversions whilst reducing the inconvenience to the public, airlines and other stakeholders.”

Gold Coast Airport said it had averaged about 50 flight diversions a year since October 2010.

Should the ILS be installed, the decision height and visibility for aircraft landing on Runway 14 for landings using ILS would be 280 feet and 1,500 metres, compared with about 500 feet and 2,400 metres under RNP.

“With south east Queensland and northern New South Wales tourist destinations attracting more visitors annually, when this forecast in growth is realised, the number of diversions will increase proportionally if the existing landing minima is not improved,” the paper said.

“By improving the success rate of landings in adverse weather, the ILS will have a direct positive impact on the future operating capacity of Gold Coast Airport. The installation of an ILS will improve airline’s confidence in using Gold Coast Airport and the future needs of airport users will be appropriately met.”

The airport and Airservices planned to hold community information drop-in sessions for residents to seek more information and ask questions about the proposal.

The public comment period closes on July 13.

The proposed ILS installation at Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport/Airservices)
The proposed ILS installation at Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport/Airservices)

 

Australian Aviation

Jetstar commences Gold Coast-Nadi service

Celebrations at Gold Coast Airport ahead of Jetstar's inaugural flight to Nadi. (Gold Coast Airport)
Celebrations at Gold Coast Airport ahead of Jetstar’s inaugural flight to Nadi. (Gold Coast Airport)

Gold Coast Airport has picked up another international route with the start of Jetstar flights to Fiji.

The Qantas-owned low-cost carrier commenced its three times a week direct service on Tuesday, when Airbus A320 VH-VFJ took off from the Gold Coast as JQ125 at 0935 local time, landing at Nadi a little over three hours later.

The return flight, JQ126, departed Nadi at 1613 local time, landing back at Coolangatta a little after 1800.

Nadi was Jetstar’s sixth international destination from the Gold Coast, joining Tokyo Narita, Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Queenstown.

Jetstar Australia and New Zealand chief executive David Hall said the airline was the largest international carrier at Gold Coast Airport with 10,000 international seats per week.

“Fiji offers an idyllic escape for couples and families and we’ve already seen strong bookings for flights over the Easter school holiday period,” Hall said in a statement on Tuesday.

“We have a strong relationship with the Gold Coast Airport and we’re grateful for the key role they’ve played opening up new holiday opportunities for locals.”

Virgin Australia was the only other Australian airline operating international routes from Gold Coast Airport with flights to Auckland.

Gold Coast Airport is served by foreign carriers Scoot (Singapore), AirAsia X (Kuala Lumpur) and Air New Zealand (Auckland and Christchurch) with scheduled flights, while the likes of Cathay Pacific and China Southern have operated charters to the South Queensland tourist destination over the Chinese New Year period.

Passengers on the first flight, which Jetstar said departed “close to capacity”, were greeted by Fijian warriors and singers at the airport and received souvenirs from Jetstar and Tourism Fiji.

“This service will provide a great boost for our outbound market, demonstrating that the Gold Coast continues to be an attractive prospect for airlines in both an inbound and an outbound sense,” Gold Coast Airport chief operating officer David Collings said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with Jetstar and Nadi International Airport to ensure the long –term success of these services,” Collins said.

 

Australia Aviation

Cathay February passenger numbers boosted by Chinese New Year

A Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 at Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport)
A Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 at Gold Coast Airport. (Gold Coast Airport)

Passenger numbers at Cathay Pacific rose strongly in February, helped by the timing of the Chinese New Year.

The airline group said total passengers carried across its Cathay and Dragonair network rose 12.4 per cent to 2.68 million in February, compared with the prior corresponding period.

There was strong demand on flights to mainland China, North Asia, North America and Southeast Asia, with double-digit increases in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK) on those routes.

And RPKs for South West Pacific (which covers Australia and New Zealand) and South Africa routes rose 9.9 per cent, Cathay said on Monday.

“Passenger traffic in February was boosted by the Chinese New Year holiday, which fell in January in the previous year,” Cathay general manager for revenue management Patricia Hwang said in a statement.

“It was a very strong peak in terms of leisure demand, with new daily and weekly passenger uplift records set for both airlines.

“Demand on the Southwest Pacific routes, to Australia and New Zealand, was robust throughout the month.”

“While it helped to spur leisure traffic, the holiday period led to a dip in demand in the premium cabins.”

Cathay said on March 9 it would boost capacity to Australia from October when a Boeing 777-300ER takes over a second of its four daily flights to Sydney.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines (SIA) also experienced a lift in passenger numbers in February on its services to Australia, but struggled on the rest of its network.

SIA said passenger load factors (PLF) to Australia and New Zealand were up 5.2 percentage points to 84.9 per cent in February, compared with the same month a year earlier.

It was the only one of SIA’s five regions to record an improvement in load factors in February, with flights to East Asia, the Americas and Europe all flying emptier in the month, while load factors on its West Asia network were flat.

“PLF improved for South West Pacific on the back of stronger demand, coupled with capacity consolidation,” SIA said in a statement.

“On the other hand, PLF on East Asia routes declined as capacity growth outstripped demand. Passenger demand was weaker to Americas and Europe.

SIA said the competitive landscape continued to be challenging.

“Singapore Airlines will remain nimble to redeploy capacity to better match market demand and promotional activities will continue in relevant markets,” the company said.

A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 at Sydney Airport. (Rob Finlayson)
A Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 at Sydney Airport. (Rob Finlayson)

Australia Aviation

Scoot brings Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Sydney and Gold Coast

Scoot brings Boeing 787 Dreamliner to Sydney, Gold Coast

Singapore Airlines’ low-cost offshoot Scoot could be flying its advanced Boeing 787-9s to Sydney and the Gold Coast as early as April.

The move from Scoot’s current ageing Boeing 777-200 jets to the all-new Dreamliners will be a substantial upgrade with the Boeing 787 offering a quieter and smoother ride with more comfort and less jetlag.

The airline has also outfitted its new planes with new business class seats and inflight Internet.

Speaking on the sidelines of Scoot’s inaugural Boeing 787 flight from Seattle to Singapore, Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson told Australian Business Traveller that the exact timetable was dependent upon Boeing’s delivery schedule and could end up as May rather than April.

“We can’t give specific dates yet because we simply don’t know, and to be fair to Boeing, they also don’t know because there’s lots of parts coming from lots of places,” Wilson said.

“Boeing’s delivery calendar (gives) a roughly two-week window when you know the aircraft will arrive, and it’s only firmed up to be a specific date 30 days before delivery.”

Sydney will be served by the third Boeing 787 to join Scoot’s fleet, with the fourth plane earmarked for the Gold Coast.

Scoot expects to be flying an all-Dreamliner fleet around the middle of this year, with its new Melbourne-Singapore route also seeing the Boeing 787 in November.

Scoot’s first Dreamliner makes its debut today on TZ8 from Singapore to Perth – expected to touch down in the mining capital at 6:15pm local time before returning to the Lion City an hour later as flight TZ7.

Chris Chamberlin travelled to Seattle as a guest of Scoot and Boeing.

Source : Australia Business Traveller