CLIVE Palmer (pictured) has unveiled plans to expand Sunshine Coast Airport and host more flights from Asia.
The extended airstrip would accommodate A380s and 747 jumbo jets flying direct to the Coast from Tokyo, Beijing and Singapore, he claims.
“This will significantly boost the region’s capacity to accommodate both domestic and international visitors and create enormous interest in a country, such as China and its growing tourism market,” says Palmer in a written statement.
The statement did not outline the issues of limited space, noise and nearby Mount Coolum that have burdened previous proposals to upgrade the council-owned airport, which is currently limited to smaller jets including A320s and Boeing 737s.
In a something-for-everyone approach, the mining magnate’s $2.5 billion project also includes a major redevelopment of Palmer Coolum Resort encompassing retail space, a casino, an 80-acre theme park, a convention centre, an aviary and aquarium.
Palmer says the airport will be linked to the resort via a new monorail network, with further plans to launch hovercraft services to carry up to 400 passengers from Brisbane’s CBD to Coolum.
“This will enable people to get to the resort from Brisbane quickly. They can stay at the resort or come up for the night, and enjoy an amazing dining experience, before going back to Brisbane,” he says.
The Gold Coast-based billionaire says construction and continuing operation would create more than 9000 jobs in the Sunshine Coast region. The resort alone will employ more than 2500 staff when works are completed in 2015, he says.
Palmer hopes to elevate the Coast to become one of the world’s top tourist destinations.
“The Sunshine Coast is a magnificent region and the gateway to Fraser Island and the Great Barrier Reef. It is time we made a change and reclaimed the state’s mantle as Australia’s and the world’s premium tourist destination,” he says.
Community consultation about the development proposals will be carried out over the next six months, according to Palmer.
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