Stage one of the $14.5 million Newcastle Airport expansion has been completed, paving the way for international flights.
Work on the 2600 square metre terminal expansion started in 2014 and stage one was finished on schedule.
The terminal was fitted with a new arrivals hall including permanent customs, immigration and quarantine areas. This will help the airport in its efforts to become an international terminal.
“This extension allows for easier accessibility from all aircraft parking bays on our tarmac, making for faster transition times for patrons between aircraft and terminal,” Newcastle Airport CEO Paul Hughes said.
“The achievement that I am most proud of is the readiness of our customs, immigration, and quarantine facilities. We’ve been in discussions with airlines regarding direct international services for a while, and now we have a building showing we are ready and able.”
Passengers can already check in at Newcastle Airport for international flights with Etihad, Qantas, Virgin Australia and, most recently, Singapore Airlines.
Mr Hughes said the target now was to get flights direct from Newcastle Airport to Aucklund, New Zealand.
The terminal expansion will also result in extra domestic flights and more retail space at the Williamtown site, after customer research showed passengers were frustrated with congestion during peak travel times and a lack of retail variety.
Planning Minister Pru Goward and Liberal candidates from Maitland and surrounding electorates were there to mark the occasion.
“The expansion will also open up the possibility for future routes to Adelaide, Perth, and Cairns as well as international services to New Zealand and South East Asia as demand continues to grow,” Ms Goward said.
Stage two of the project will include a revamp of the existing terminal and an expansion of the departure lounge.
The overall footprint of the airport will be 50 per cent bigger when the project is completed at the end of 2015.