The next phase of the $370 million Gold Coast Airport redevelopment project is expected to start soon with developer Lendlease (ASX: LLC) appointed to deliver the hub's southern terminal expansion.
The timing of the revamp could not be more critical with Queensland Airports Limited CEO Chris Mills highlighting the existing terminal is already operating beyond capacity, while current passenger numbers of 6.6 million annually are set to more than double by 2037.
"This expansion will not only help us meet demand, it will create an entry point to the city, befitting the nation's leading tourism region," says Mills.
"Last year we completed the first phase of Project LIFT, the 20,000 square metre expansion of our apron to create more aircraft parking space leading into the Commonwealth Games."
This next stage of Project LIFT is due to commence in the "coming months" according to a release, and will involve a three-level terminal with aerobridges built to the south of the current facility. The project will double the floor area of the existing terminal and is set to offer more flexibility to service domestic and international flights.
Mills says Lendlease is an ideal partner with extensive experience in property and construction, including work in the aviation sector, and the group's appointment represents a significant step forward for the project to address capacity issues and pave the way for future passenger growth.
"We look forward to working with Lendlease on the terminal expansion, which will commence soon and is expected to be completed in mid-2021," he says.
Lendlease Building chief executive officer Dale Connor says the deal reflects a strong relationship between Lendlease and Queensland Airports, and signals an exciting opportunity for both
the construction phase and Gold Coast Airport passengers.
"We look forward to working with Queensland Airports to expand the Gold Coast Airport in preparation for future domestic and international growth," he says.
"Over the life of the project, we'll be employing upwards of 1500 subcontractors and suppliers many of whom will be local to the Gold Coast.
"During peak construction times, approximately 250 workers will be required onsite at any one time."
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack has welcomed news of the major airport project proceeding.
"This is good news for the Gold Coast and Northern NSW, where the population is forecast to grow significantly in the next 20 years," he says.
"This will continue to open the region to connections for tourists and locals, with a modern and efficient airport to keep pace with the increase in demand over time."
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones says the project will support growth of the tourism sector on the Gold Coast, which she describes as the country's premier holiday destination.
"First impressions are everything. That's why this project is so important when it comes to giving tourists a great experience on the Gold Coast," she says.
"We also know that ensuring tourists have easy access to the Coast is crucial when it comes to growing the local tourism industry. We'll continue to work with the Gold Coast Airport to secure more flights direct to the city in the future."
The announcement comes after ground was broken on the Gold Coast Airport hotel site in early February. A 192-room Rydges-branded hotel is being built adjacent to the southern terminal footprint.
LLC shares rose 0.75 per cent this morning to reach $13.46, with a slow recovery underway since the announcement last week of a 96 per cent profit dive that prompted a restructuring of the business.
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