On 7 May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Newcastle Airport to announce much-anticipated funding for a substantial upgrade to the airport’s airfield accessed via the RAAF Base Williamtown.

The upgrade with give the runway a CODE E status, allowing long-bodied, long-haul aircraft to fly in and out. This means larger aircrafts such as Boeing 777s and Airbus 330s will be able to land in Newcastle, with expected alongside increased domestic flights.

By accommodating longer-range domestic and international passenger services, the $66 million investment enhances completed upgrades to the international arrivals and departures processing at the terminals. It will also provide large freight capabilities for local exporters.

This investment is another example of the government’s commitment to the aviation industry and to maintaining Australia’s aviation infrastructure, as part of its ongoing support to ensure the sector recovers and thrives. It will ensure the airfield remains in line with modern industry aviation standards.

Improvements set to be a game-changer for the Hunter region

The investment will be a game-changer for the Hunter region. Newcastle Airport estimates that these improvements have the potential to create 4,400 full-time jobs, deliver 850,000 visitors to the region and add $12.7 billion to the local economy over the next 20 years.

Those that will see most benefit from the upgrade include local tourism operators, hospitality owners, agricultural producers, and freight and logistics providers. More tourists to the region will also mean more money being spent in local businesses.

The Department of Defence will also ensure that local businesses are contracted to do the works through a Local Industry Capability Plan.

The upgrade is critical in Newcastle’s transformation, helping position it as a truly global gateway city. The work is scheduled to begin this year and will be completed alongside RAAF’s scheduled runway maintenance at the Williamtown base.