Airport expansion: where should the Coast fly to?

By Nick Cherry

The Sunshine Coast airport expansion is a hot-topic for many local travel enthusiasts but one question still remains, where will they be able to travel to?

Flight Center travel agent Harlan Rice said flights to popular tourist destinations such as Singapore and Malaysia were a must if the revamped airport was to be successful.

“I think the airport expansion will be great for the Sunshine Coast,” he said.

“It’s hard to say where exactly the new flights should go but places like Bali, Singapore and Malaysia are all incredibly popular for young travellers.

“I believe they must be included in the new airport expansion.”

Harlan Rice believes Singapore City (pictured) should be one of the new destinations offered in the expansion. Credit: Merlion444

Harlan said his proposed destinations would also act as travel hubs to access other areas of the world such as Thailand, Europe and further parts of Asia.

The Coast airport currently offers limited travel opportunities, with flights to Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Auckland (seasonally).

Harlan said he would also like to see more flights to Auckland offered before the expansion was completed due to the destinations popularity.

“I think that the airport should continue international flights to New Zealand all year round instead of just periodically,” he said.

“It’s an extremely popular destination.”

The expansion is set to cost an estimated $347 million to construct with the John Holland Group being awarded the $225 million contract to build the new 2450m x 45m main-runway.

Construction has already commenced on the Sunshine Coast Airport expansion. Credit: Phillip Rodda.

Harlan said the pending upgrade was sure to spark new life into tourism on the Coast.

“The Coast thrives off tourism so it [airport expansion] will open up the coastal area more allowing people to visit the region and our community to grow,” he said.

He said guided tours such as Contiki and Top Deck were very popular for people between 18 and 25, whereas travellers between the age of 25 and 30 usually elected to travel more independently.

He said it was also important to travel safely and that informing family of your location, registering with Smart Traveller and securing full comprehensive travel insurance would help promote a safer trip.

The new airport aims to be open by Christmas 2020 and was designed by Beca Consultants.

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