Launceston Airport was privatised on this day 20 years ago and the airport’s General Manager, Paul Hodgen, used the anniversary to celebrate key achievements with staff and the wider airport community.
“In 1998 when Australia Pacific Airports Corporation acquired the lease for the airport it was best known as a jet base facilitating travel for 544,000 people. Now, 20 years on the airport is welcoming one third of all air passengers to and from Tasmania, serving 1.34 million people annually,” said Mr Hodgen.
“Privatisation has opened up a wide range of opportunities for Launceston enabling the growth and expansion required to bring the airport in-line with the needs of the state.
“In the past ten years we have invested more than $65 million to improve the airport, developing and maintaining the airport’s facilities in addition to attracting new routes and airlines.
“One of the biggest investments was our $21 million dollar terminal redevelopment in 2009, which allowed us to double the size of the terminal building, add a new checked baggage screening facility and two more baggage carousels, as well as further retail and hospitality outlets. These additions improve access to air travel for Tasmanians, while making the experience more efficient and enjoyable. They also add to Launceston’s appeal as a travel destination, supporting local jobs and stimulating economic growth for the state.
“Launceston Airport is now one of the main economic and employment hubs in northern Tasmania supporting more than 400 jobs, with 30 separate businesses operating within the wider precinct and 40 off-airport businesses supplying subcontracted support services.” Mr Hodgen said another fundamental project was the $11 million dollar runway resurfacing program carried out in 2015 allowing the airport to handle aircraft for an additional 15 years.
“In the same year attention was turned to the road network where the airport invested $6 million into creating a new entrance and exit, dedicated commercial and taxi zones and additional car parks,” said Mr Hodgen.
“The work we have carried out over the years has always focused on delivering great customer experiences for our travellers, which we know has helped Launceston take out the title as the Australian Airport Association’s ‘Major Airport of the Year’ for the past three years. It’s something we are extremely proud of and it’s a testament to our staff and wider airport community.” Mr Hodgen said Tasmania’s tourism industry has gone from strength to strength and the airport has played a major role in bringing travellers into the island state.
“Tourism in Tasmania contributes around $2.27 billion to the economy, equivalent to 10.7 per cent of Gross State Product and supports around 37,400 jobs. These shares of economic activity and employment from tourism are the highest in the country showing just how significant air travel is now and will continue to be in future,” said Mr Hodgen.
“We understand the importance of tourism to our operation and proudly support local businesses. The airport’s Launceston Store showcases the very best of Tasmanian gifts, wines, whiskies and local wares and the award-wining James Boags Upper Deck Bar and Restaurant reflects a real sense of place, serving up locally- sourced produce for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“We have also re-shaped the terminal layout in the past year giving our travellers more time to spend with their loved ones before departure.” Mr Hodgen said the airport’s short-term plans include adding more car parking capacity to the northern precinct, while astute remediation works take place on the airfield’s pavement.
“We intend to embark on further enhancement of our forecourt, terminal façade and arrivals hall and will continue to explore opportunities to introduce greater automation into the check-in area,” said Mr Hodgen. “Our long term vision involves kicking-off our 2020 Master Plan, commissioning a series of forecast studies into passenger, aircraft and ground transport demand, in order to inform the future infrastructure development of our terminal, airfield and landside precinct and our associated environmental management plans.
“In addition, our focus is firmly on driving aviation growth and delivering the necessary capacity and infrastructure to meet that demand. As a key tourism gateway to Tasmania we will continue to deliver a winning experience for the passengers and work as a brand ambassador for the region.”
- Media Release