Airport upgrade up, away

Alexander ScottNorth West Telegraph
The long awaited upgrade to the Port Hedland Airport have begun.
Camera IconThe long awaited upgrade to the Port Hedland Airport have begun. Credit: Supplied.

The multimillion-dollar transformation of the Port Hedland International Airport is well under way with the first phase of works nearing completion.

The long-awaited upgrades began in July and include improvements to the taxi line, and new asphalt overlay on the runway.

New lighting for the runway and apron are set to be finished by late December.

The Port Hedland International Airport Group of Companies agreed to spend $40 million to improve airport infrastructure when it leased the airport from the Town of Port Hedland in 2016 for $165 million.

PHIA general manager Rod Evans said the asphalt overlay cost about $7 million, while the new taxiway was $7.5 million. Mr Evans said the airport had upgraded the runway lighting to medium-intensity and was building five apron light towers to meet standards for $2 million.

“We only had one taxiway onto the apron, and it needs rebuilding, but to rebuild it would mean shutting it down for three to four months,” he said.

“That’s not possible if you only have one, so we built a second one so that if we need to rebuild it, we can still operate the airport.”

Mr Evans said the next phase of upgrades was to apply grooves to the runway track, scheduled for October 1 and taking about 30 days. He said the proposed $25 million terminal redevelopment would begin in the new year.

“We’ve got a development application with the council at the moment, and that will go to ( the Joint Development Assessment Panel) for approval in the coming months,” he said.

Mr Evans said the terminal upgrades would include new check-in and baggage claim facilities and an 800sqm expansion of the building.

ToPH commissioner Fred Riebeling recently recommended sending the airport terminal redevelopment plans to the JDAP for approval.

“The planned upgrades will not just improve the usability and visitor experience but also be more aesthetically attractive and welcoming to tourists and other visitors,” Mr Riebeling said.

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