From humble beginnings, Hobart Airport has grown into the largest entry point to Tasmania. With over 60 percent of passengers passing through our airport every year, we are Tasmania's busiest access point. This is a privilege and responsibility that we take very seriously.
As our state bears the fruits of a tourism boom and demand for our products continues to grow, it is vital that our gateway is in a position to match the pace and expand with our community.
With this in mind, we developed and released plans for a 500m runway extension that would allow heavier and larger aircraft to takeoff from Hobart and travel further distances, increasing our capacity for international flights, opening up new logistics opportunities for our local producers and securing our position as a key Antarctic gateway.
With a $38 million commitment from the Australian Government and a contribution of $2 million from Hobart Airport, works commenced in 2016 creating 200 direct jobs for Tasmanians.
The existing 45 metre wide runway pavement was extended in length by 150 metres to the northern end and 350 metres to the southern end, toward Seven Mile Beach. In addition, the existing turning nodes at the ends of the current runway were relocated to the newly extended runway ends and expanded.
The expanded turning nodes are 85 metres wide to accommodate the large turning circle of wide-bodied aircraft. This expansion will minimise the time that the aircraft occupies the runway and in doing so, maximise the safety of our runway operations.
As a result of the runway expansion, the southern end of what was once Surf Road was permanently closed to traffic. The road was relocated further south and converted to a cycle track and bridle path that can be enjoyed by pedestrians and offers a safe route for cyclists looking to bypass the Tasman Highway airport traffic.
Grueber Avenue was constructed to run from Surf Road through to the Tasman Highway along the western side of the airport, providing the community at Seven Mile Beach with continued access to the Tasman Highway.
The increased length of the runway will considerably expand the destinations that can be reached by wide-bodied aircraft, particularly the more modern aircraft such as the B777-300 and B787-900 providing opportunities for the state, and Australia more broadly, in three key areas:
Hobart is the location of the world’s largest single concentration of Antarctic and Southern Ocean research, as well as co-located logistics operations. As the home of Australia’s national Antarctic Program and a global gateway to the East Antarctic, Hobart Airport has an important role to play in ensuring the state has the infrastructure to support ongoing polar investigation activities.
The runway extension allows large, fully loaded aircraft to travel directly from Hobart to Wilkins Runway in Antarctica, providing a time efficient option for moving more than 400 scientists and high-priority cargo each summer.
Extending the reach of Hobart also provides new opportunities for the state in the tourism sector. Not only have new domestic routes including direct flights to Perth been announced, but the new runway also opens up the capacity for wide body aircraft operations as far as China or Hong Kong.
With the increased interest in Tasmania from international visitors, an opportunity to convert these markets to consumers of Tasmanian experiences and products is very real and we are pleased to be able to play a role in connecting Tasmania to the world.
While international flights are not yet part of our service offering at Hobart Airport, we are in discussions with airlines to negotiate potential international routes to open up new travel opportunities for Tasmanian locals.
Tasmanian producers of goods for export are currently required to have their freight delivered to the north-west coast by truck, from there it is loaded onto a ship and taken to Melbourne or Sydney, before being transferred onto an aircraft and delivered to the country of destination by air.
With the runway extension allowing wide body aircraft to take off from Hobart, we are now able to offer an efficient and cost-effective logistics option for local producers, allowing Tasmanian products to be uplifted and chartered direct to international destinations.
Following the runway extension, Hobart Airport completed the development of a new freight handling facility which allows Tasmanian producers to access key Asian markets where demand for our seafood, fruit and other fresh produce continues to grow.
The runway extension was a landmark project that saw parties from a diverse range of companies and backgrounds working together towards a common goal. The project was completed ahead of schedule, and also came in well under budget - a proud testament to the expertise of all involved.
The runway extension has been coined one of the most significant Tasmanian tourism infrastructure projects in the state’s history and we are proud of the role it will allow us to play in creating new jobs for Tasmanians through growth in export business and investment across Tasmania and connecting our state with communities across the globe.