Work to start on big airport upgrade plan
Port Hedland’s airport will soon be busy with construction after plans were announced for a runway lighting upgrade, new terminal and other infrastructure work.
The upgrades are part of the town’s lease agreement worth a minimum $40 million investment over five years and could pave the way for an asphalt overlay of the runway, a new taxiway and a new terminal building.
Port Hedland International Airport group chairman Cheryl Edwardes said the work was directed at lease obligations to develop and invest for the benefit of the community.
“Significant progress is being made in respect of planning for the redevelopment,” she said.
“The PHIA Group has been hard at work, behind the scenes, preparing for the transformation of this important community asset.
“A number of capital projects are under way, and others are in their initial concept, design and planning phases with architects and project managers.
“The construction of a new terminal building will minimise public disruption during the construction phase, and will deliver a safe, modern, and secure terminal ... to be proud of for many many years to come.”
The chairman said the Town of Port Hedland’s council decision on December 13 to renew the Port Haven short-term accommodation village lease was a major milestone and influenced the upgrades.
“We thank the Town’s elected members and the community for their support on this important matter.”
Mayor of Port Hedland Camilo Blanco said he supported the proposal and the Port Haven lease, which accommodates work crews on airport land.
“Supporting the airport which supports our resources industry and our national economy are top-shelf priorities for the Town of Port Hedland,” he said.
“The approval of the new lease has allowed for future upgrades of the airport and provided a substantial revenue stream to Port Hedland for many years to come. The redevelopment of this asset is also important in our ability to compete as a tourism destination and gateway to the Pilbara.”
Other councillors had previously spoken out against more airport infrastructure in exchange for support of the passed Port Haven lease renewal.
Cr Warren McDonogh said he did not consider a new terminal a vital improvement.
“The town needs to take the long- term approach (for the Port Haven lease),” he said. “I fly out on holiday or to Perth and I really don’t care what the airport looks like.”
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