Coast airport to take off

GOLD Coast Airport is planning for three times as many passengers arriving on bigger aircraft in the next 20 years.

Architects of the Gold Coast Airport Master Plan have forecast 16.3 million travellers will pass through the airport's doors in 2031.

Chief operating officer Paul Donovan said a few things had to change before the airport reached those targets.

He said the first of those was to extend the threshold of the tarmac - not an extension - to ensure larger aircraft used by Chinese carriers could land at the airport.

"I think there is still an element that doesn't understand the importance of that market," he said.

Mr Donovan said there were 57 million international tourists from China, with 116,000 of those visiting the Gold Coast. Mr Donovan said having larger aircraft using the airport would lower the flight path over residential houses.

Barona Point and District Residents' Association president and former Gold Coast Airport operations supervisor John Sweeney said the master plan would draw out objections.

He said the residents' association would make a submission based on the plan's merits.

"Three or four years ago the threshold was put in place to appease concerns of people living at the southern end of the airport," Mr Sweeney said.

"I don't think that it will make much of a difference. The change is likely to only lower flight paths by 15 metres.

"It will not make much difference to noise, but it is the perception rather than the reality."

Mr Sweeney said the passenger movement targets were realistic.

"I could see those passenger targets being met with the huge untapped markets in Asia," Mr Sweeny said.

The Gold Coast Airport Master Plan was released yesterday for public comment. Submissions close on December 5.

Mr Donovan said it was important for the Gold Coast and its residents to be welcoming rather than hostile to visitors from Asia and China in particular.



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