More than 400 lights turned on along the Sunshine Coast Airport’s new runway on Friday evening to welcome its first ever plane—a Twin Comanche— and guiding it safely in to touch down.
The flight was part of an important runway lighting test and one of the final checks required to hand the runway over to the Sunshine Coast Airport on June 13, 2020.
Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project Director Ross Ullman said the lighting flight test was a collaborative effort by Sunshine Coast Council and the project contractor, Sunshine Coast Airport, Civil Aviation Safety Authority and Airservices Australia, and marked another exciting milestone for the airport expansion.
“The Twin Comanche performed several approaches from both ends of runway 13/31 at a height of 200ft, checking safe operation of the ground lighting.
“At approximately 8.20pm last Friday evening, we watched the first plane successfully touch down—a proud and historic moment for the Sunshine Coast community.
“There are 409 lights installed along the runway, linked by an impressive 50kms of electrical cabling—which is about the distance from Caloundra to the airport and back again.
“The lights are operated by Air Traffic Control using new touch screens and connected by an airport lighting equipment room,” Mr Ullman said.
In the final months of construction, onsite crews will complete asphalt grooving—an important process that enables water dispersion on aircraft landing and increases tyre traction on the runway. They will also be line-marking, raising a perimeter fence and constructing a conservation corridor to ensure safe passage for wildlife once the runway opens.
The new runway is longer, wider and better aligned with prevailing winds and able to accommodate larger, more fuel efficient aircraft.
Division 8 Councillor and Economy portfolio holder Jason O’Pray said we should all feel extremely proud of this achievement and excited about the opportunities the new runway would bring.
“This new runway is, now more than ever, a critical piece of infrastructure for the Sunshine Coast,” Cr O’Pray said.
“It will play a major role in the recovery of our region post the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering new export opportunities and boosting tourism.
“By 2040, the new runway will have contributed $4.1 billion to Gross Regional Product and created 2230 new full-time jobs for our local workforce,” Councillor O’Pray said.
Benefits to our region:
· The new runway will provide direct access for our region to the world.
· 2230 new full-time jobs by 2040 (direct and indirect)
· Potential to attract over 2,000,000 passengers annually
· Helps boost tourism and export opportunities
· Potential to reach new destinations
· $4.1 billion contribution to Gross Regional Product (2020-2040).
Visit the project webpage for more information: https://www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au/Council/Planning-and-Projects/Major-Regional-Projects/Sunshine-Coast-Airport-Expansion-Project
Sunshine Coast's new runway lights up