Flying High at Sunshine Coast Airport
As the world starts to get back to a new normal, holiday makers and business travellers are once again returning to the skies with what seems to be an insatiable desire to travel. Jennifer Swaine discovers this is great news for Sunshine Coast Airport, as it redefines itself and braces for a promising future.
While many of us thought it would take some time before people started travelling again, this hasn’t been the case. Demand for travel to and from the Sunshine Coast continues to climb and in April 2022, the airport experienced their busiest month on record, welcoming 155,970 passengers through the terminal.
And with Bonza set to commence operations* in late-September, opening up more routes than ever before, it is likely that more records will be broken before the year is done (*subject to regulatory approval).
According to Sunshine Coast Airport CEO, Andrew Brodie, all the signs for a healthy future are positive.
“We are spearheading the region’s recovery with 17 destinations connected directly to the Sunshine Coast when Bonza takes flight,” Mr Brodie said. “This is up from three destinations, pre-COVID, boosting us from 10th to the second most domestically connected airport in Queensland.”
It’s an exciting new era Sunshine Coast Airport is embarking on, led by the opening of the new $334 million runway in June 2020. The new 13/31 runway is longer and wider than the previous runway and is helping to open the region to more destinations and greater export opportunities for local producers, especially now that Brisbane is set to host the 2032 Olympics.
In fact, the announcement that Brisbane had secured the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games could not have come at a better time for Sunshine Coast Airport. While plans were already well underway for the expansion of the current terminal, ensuring they are ready for the increase in passengers in the lead up, during and post the Olympics is now at the forefront of their minds.
“We are working on bringing the Airport Master Plan 2040 to life and we have plans to invest up to $500 million in infrastructure to boost the regional economy, jobs growth, and support the 2032 Olympics, creating a legacy for generations to come,” Mr Brodie said.
“Over the coming years you will see our terminal double in size, an expansion of the Aerospace Precinct and our Southern Gateway will start to take shape.”
The expansion plans will see the floor plate of the terminal double to what is already in use, providing additional infrastructure to cater for greater volumes of planes and travellers, and additional opportunities for an expanded retail and food footprint.
Behind the scenes the team have been working hard and this year saw Sunshine Coast Airport awarded carbon neutral status (Level 3+) for the fifth consecutive year. Impressively, Sunshine Coast Airport is the only carbon neutral airport in Australia and maintaining this status is a high priority for Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Brodie.
“Our commitment to leading the way in sustainability initiatives is high on our list of priorities and not only are we committed to maintaining our carbon neutral status, but we are now working on raising the bar to Level 4+,” Mr Brodie said. “As we prepare Sunshine Coast Airport in readiness for the 2032 Olympics, we aim to become the natural choice for both business and leisure travellers who are increasingly choosing to support businesses and organisations that demonstrate their commitment to protecting the environment.”
With so much happening at the airport and with opportunities at every turn, it was time for the team to evaluate the existing brand to ensure it aligned with goals of the business.
The exercise was invaluable as it was clear that a fresh, new brand that would reflect the role Sunshine Coast Airport has as an economic enabler, relishing their place at the heart of a thriving region, was needed.
After months of work, in early August the team unveiled the new brand which they say “embodies the exciting journey we are about to embark on. We’ve chosen to redefine what it means to connect people and places, to expand our impact beyond aviation. The natural choice.”
For those of us who live here, or those who choose to visit, the Sunshine Coast is indeed the natural choice – and for many it is the only choice.
Personally, for me it’s a combination of the breathtaking beauty that surrounds us on a daily basis, combined with this connected, caring, collaborative community that call this region home.
And while Sunshine Coast Airport may be a large organisation that is delivering outcomes in this region, at the end of the day it’s the people they employ and their genuine commitment to business, the community and the region that is winning our support – and our hearts.
We are blessed that Sunshine Coast Airport is large enough to compete with the big end of town – but small enough that they can make a difference where it counts – and leading the way and making a difference is what this team is all about.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Sunshine Coast Airport was the first, and still is the only carbon neutral airport in Australia.
- Sunshine Airport will become the 2nd most domestically connected airport in Queensland when Bonza takes flight.
- Sunshine Coast is directly connected between Auckland with seasonal services operated by Air New Zealand.