THE Gold Coast Airport is one step closer to getting all-weather boarding facilities, after announcing the managing contractor for the first stage of its $200 million upgrade.

Listed construction, civil and mining company Watpac (ASX:WTP) has been appointed to provide construction, buildability and schedule advice for the construction works during the design development phase of the project - known as Project Lift (Lets Invest for Tomorrow). 

Project Lift compromises the redevelopment of the southern end of the existing Coolangatta terminal, and is expected to almost double the size of the city's international gateway.  It will include three new wide-bodied aircraft stands, a three-level terminal development and up to four aerobridges. 

Watpac was appointed after what Gold Coast Airport described as a "thorough tender review".

Gold Coast Airport CEO David Collins says the appointment of Watpac is a key milestone for the project and means a more detailed design for Project LIFT will be progressed along with a firm timeline of works.

"The quality of applicants during the tender process was of a high calibre," says Collins.

"We appointed Watpac based on their large-scale project experience and familiarity with airport developments, having worked with Adelaide, Avalon and Darwin Airports recently.

"At a local level, Watpac has also worked on the Gold Coast University Hospital, Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, CBUS Super Stadium and Dreamworld's White Water World."

Upon completion of stage one, Watpac will submit pricing for the stage two manager contractor construction work for consideration of Gold Coast Airport.

Watpac managing director Martin Monro says the group is proud to be working on what will be a significant infrastructure project for the Gold Coast.

"We are delighted to be working with the Gold Coast Airport in the early stages of this important project," says Monro.

"Our team brings an exceptional standard of knowledge and skills in this specialist area of construction that will provide a major benefit to the design development phase."

Stage one is expected to be delivered in late 2017, before the Commonwealth Games.

Further stages are scheduled to be completed in late 2018 and late 2020 and include enhancements to the existing terminal building and an additional two wide-bodied aircraft parking stands.

Construction works will commence after the projects major development plan (MDP) has obtained federal government approval, scheduled for next year.

The MDP can be viewed on the Gold Coast Airport website until September 30.

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