Multimillion airport master plan revealed
PRIVATE airline lounges, a FIFO hub, international travel upgrades and more retail and hospitality businesses are part of the $7.8 million master plan for Rockhampton Airport.
The master plan for the airport was adopted at yesterday's Rockhampton Regional Council meeting.
The master plan was triggered by the Federal Government's instructions to strengthen security measures with the installation of X-ray body and baggage scanners across regional airports by the end of 2020.
Mayor Margaret Strelow said the necessity to reconfigure the terminal to fit the new screening equipment had created an opportunity to design a master plan that would significantly modernise the airport.
The new layout will involve a refit in the current building.
Rockhampton region airport, water and waste committee chairman Neil Fisher said that while developing the plan, council had looked at what were the things that made other airports great and how could that could be done in Rockhanpton.
The latest design, which has received unanimous support from councillors, is the seventh.
"It has the look and feel of Canberra Airport, free-flowing design for departures of the Townsville Airport, departure and entry of Cairns airport, and the ability to work with the airlines for their own loungers like Mackay Airport," Cr Fisher said.
One of the biggest issues the airport faced was the "bottlenecking" at security as most passengers waited until boarding was called to go through, because there was no retail or hospitality businesses in the departure area.
The new layout will also allow the current airlines servicing Rockhampton Airport, Qantas and Virgin, to have their own private lounges.
Cr Fisher said the absence of such facilities had always been a hindrance and they would encourage the airlines to bring more routes to Rockhampton.
It would also have a larger departure lounge with more than twice the seating space.
Another key concept is the FIFO lounge, which could be a drawcard for more mining companies to come to Rockhampton.
With Rockhampton locked in as a FIFO hub for Adani, Cr Fisher said there were five more mines in the Galilee basin that could use it as well.
"As soon as you walk through those doors into the FIFO lounge, you are officially on the mine site," he said.
Cr Fisher said drug testing and induction would be done in the lounge, allowing miners to get to work quicker and be home earlier to their families.
The international upgrades will also boost and support works and exercises at Shoalwater Bay.
"This was designed so we could have two 787 Dreamliners almost one after the one - there would be a clean process through customs and biosecurity, picking up their luggage and to be able to move out and on to their buses," Cr Fisher said.
"We could have regular flights - Air Korea, Air Vietnam could land in Rockhampton, refuel here and take on our local produce and meat in their chiller cargo, and that gives us the scope to open opportunities (routes) that passengers could travel."
One of the biggest expenses at Rockhampton Airport is maintenance, as large equipment cannot be taken inside to clean it.
The new design will allow access for large scissor lifts.
The airport will remain operational during construction.
The master plan has been split into two stages, with $3 million for building works and the security equipment.
The second stage involves relocating traders within departure lounges.