Airport set to give Canberra travellers more overseas links

Ian Bushnell 21 April 2020 95
Canberra Airport

Canberra Airport is looking to extend its international links across the Pacific and into Asia over the next 20 years. Photo: Canberra Airport.

Canberra Airport is expecting to clinch direct connections to China, New Zealand and Vanuatu within the next eight years and double daily flight movements by 2040, according to its new Master Plan.

The Federal Government has announced that the Airport’s 2020 Master Plan has been approved, and the airport expects to release it to the public on 5 March after some minor changes.

The Airport says by 2040 Canberrans will be able to fly direct to iconic overseas holiday destinations with its international reach extending across the Pacific to Fiji, Hawaii, and Los Angeles; and to the Asian centres of Bali, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Hong Kong, while adding Dubai to its Middle Eastern link.

The Master Plan, a 20-year strategic vision that will ensure appropriate development and cater for growth forecasts, says the Airport expects to see more than nine million passengers by 2040, including one million international travellers.

At present, the Airport says it serves nearly a million people in the greater Canberra region.

The 170 domestic and international aircraft movements a day are expected to double over the next 20 years, with Canberra increasingly serving as a freight hub, particularly with Canberra Airport being the only Boeing 747-capable airport without a curfew between Brisbane and Melbourne.

Proposed flights

The airport currently serves more than three million passengers per year, forecast to rise to more than nine million by 2040 if all goes to plan. Image: Canberra Airport.

The Canberra Airport is already one of the ACT’s biggest employment centres, with 14,000 people currently working in the precinct, and it is forecast to increase to 36,000 by 2040.

Head of Aviation Michael Thomson said that within the next five to eight years Canberra Airport would be working to bring in more international and low-cost carriers, resulting in more passengers than ever before.

“The airport currently serves more than three million passengers per year, but those numbers are forecast to rise to more than nine million by 2040 if all goes to plan. Canberra Airport’s ethos is to invest early to provide room for growth,” Mr Thomson said.

Earlier this month Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he had been meeting Air New Zealand officials to continue the push to reinstate direct flights across the Tasman, as well as discussing low-cost carriers with the Airport and teeing up talks with Singapore Airlines.

Last year he met with China Southern Airlines and representatives from Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou and Beijing Capital International Airport, as well as China’s Civil Aviation Administration, to pursue direct flights between China and Canberra.

China is the ACT’s largest international tourist market and about 5000 Chinese students study in Canberra.

Announcing the Master Plan’s approval, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the Plan paved the way for better infrastructure and expanded capacity at the Airport.

“The airport and these developments are expected to indirectly support more than 37,000 jobs and generate $6.8 billion in economic activity by 2028,” Mr McCormack said.

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said the Master Plan set out a number of proposed developments over the planning period, including a freight hub and the continued growth of the airport’s business parks.

“This Plan is good for Canberrans who want to travel, and for the Canberra economy, opening more opportunity to bring tourists to our great city,” he said.

Approval of the 2020 Master Plan follows a comprehensive statutory referral and consultation and the Airport will now not have to submit a new Master Plan for eight years after having previously been on a five-year cycle.

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95 Responses to Airport set to give Canberra travellers more overseas links
Cheryl Creswick Cheryl Creswick 4:53 pm 27 Feb 20

Makes it easier for Pollies to head off OS for their holidays.. Hawaii here they come

Paul Mathews Paul Mathews 1:45 pm 26 Feb 20

firts improve the stoopid pick-up parking...10 mins....out in the cold...jeez

rationalobserver rationalobserver 9:53 am 26 Feb 20

I’m confused. Surely such a development and it’s axiomatic implications for the climate would see mass and sustained protest by climate changers?
Or could it be that climate changers, having signalled their virtue and cleansed their inner conscience by protesting for the cameras, are just as happy to indulge in a first world lifestyle as climate sceptics?

Eliza Doering Eliza Doering 7:19 am 26 Feb 20

Free flights between London and Canberra 😭 Rae Coomber-Williams

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:17 am 25 Feb 20

Of course, all this depends on whether the global airlines are still around after the coronavirus is brought under control.

Canberrans really do live in a bubble given that it has already been widely reported that thousands of Chinese university students can’t travel here to resume their studies and the pandemic is now well and truly global. Not one mention of it in this article yet our chief minister was in China only weeks ago.

Qantas has already cancelled services to China and if one wants proof of how the airlines are being affected read up on what is happening on the share market.

If this pandemic wasn’t so serious, it would be amusing to see some of the posts about people hoping for “direct flights to Hawaii”.

Trent Cotter Trent Cotter 9:47 am 25 Feb 20

Scottie from Admin will make sure there is a direct flight to Hawaii.

Bonnie Ross Bonnie Ross 9:23 am 25 Feb 20

Michael Wilson but still no direct flight to Hobart!

Mickey Be Mickey Be 7:03 pm 24 Feb 20

Bunma B Petchy 2040. We can fly direct to Bkk. Woohoo

Gillian Balgowan Gillian Balgowan 6:12 pm 24 Feb 20

Pity flying out of Canberra is so expensive, when our daughter lived in Melbourne it was a lot cheaper to fly home to Williamtown than Canberra, and i I know people in canberra that get the bus to Sydney and fly from there rather than Canberra 🙁

Ray Kirk Ray Kirk 11:16 am 24 Feb 20

That will be handy for the MP for Manilla

Wendy Ruediger Wendy Ruediger 10:19 am 24 Feb 20

Renee Redders nice plane 😉

Anne Fitton Anne Fitton 6:06 am 24 Feb 20

Alex Evans Roberts how good is this and Vanuatu too

Narinder Pal Brar Narinder Pal Brar 4:48 am 24 Feb 20

Good news for taxi 😄industry

Anthony Colin Edmunds Anthony Colin Edmunds 1:54 am 24 Feb 20

Lots of free trips to China I hear !!!

Juan Pablo Juan Pablo 12:08 am 24 Feb 20

Far too expensive.

Much better value flying from sydney

    Margaret Freemantle Margaret Freemantle 2:04 am 24 Feb 20

    Juan Pablo no difference in price.

    Juan Pablo Juan Pablo 7:02 am 24 Feb 20

    Jonathan Hickman its still $800 difference for a family going from canberra.

    I'd prefer the $800.

    And I'm certain you don't pay for flights

Bin Barnier Bin Barnier 11:45 pm 23 Feb 20

Why the delay? Please bring it forward.

Lisa Holl Lisa Holl 11:35 pm 23 Feb 20


Caroline Le Couteur Caroline Le Couteur 9:45 pm 23 Feb 20

How does this fit with ACT goal of zero net emissions?

    Chris Skene Chris Skene 10:31 pm 23 Feb 20

    Caroline Le Couteur By reducing the emissions from connecting flights to other Australian hubs, for a start? Are you expecting the airport to not use planes?

    Martin Ross Martin Ross 6:28 am 24 Feb 20

    Caroline Le Couteur you expecting us to not use planes any longer and go back to the dark ages? This is the 21st century where we use planes for overseas travel. We don’t swim or use high speed yachts 🤦🏼‍♂️

    Craig McLaren Craig McLaren 8:38 am 24 Feb 20

    Labour at all levels are saying o% so yes that dose mean no aviation at all

    John Hutchison John Hutchison 2:59 pm 26 Feb 20

    Not correct. Labor are saying Zero net emissions. This means that emissions are possible, but only if offset by some form of carbon capture.

Emily Thomas Emily Thomas 9:35 pm 23 Feb 20

Rosy - the chief minister is on it!

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