WITH a vision to develop as a first-class facility to serve the region's evolving transportation, business and development needs and to maximise the growth of a wide range of aeronautical and other businesses, Canberra Airport last week announced the release of its Preliminary Draft Master Plan.
"Almost 16 years ago, we set out with a vision to create the best small airport in the world. Our previous master plans in 1999, 2005 and 2009 outlined the approach needed to achieve that and we have invested heavily in delivering a national infrastructure asset of which the Canberra Region community can be justly proud," said Managing Director Stephen Byron.
"Canberra's Airport has unrivalled environmental credentials, iconic design features, world- class amenities, and passionate community support. This is what we said we would deliver and we have done it, notwithstanding the impacts of airline collapses, SARS, 9/11, the global financial crisis, volcanic ash plumes and a host of potential deal-breakers along the way."
With the new terminal finished, internationally capable and ready to connect the Canberra region directly with the rest of the world, Mr Byron said the focus of the new master plan was delivering a landmark transport hub incorporating air, rail and road transport.
"How this will benefit the 900,000 people living in the Capital Region cannot be underestimated and is not yet widely comprehended. International flights are the main thrust of our efforts to drive aviation growth and optimise the asset. It is in Australia's national interest that our Capital City is directly connected with Asia," Mr Byron said.
"We believe that our future growth and development is linked closely to the economic growth and prosperity of our community, and this draft master plan outlines our vision to help achieve that."
Mr Byron said cutbacks in the public service and its travel budget have shown that the region can no longer rely on the public sector as the driver of economic activity. He added that the future lies in diversifying and attracting new businesses and industries, including education, tourism, IT, defence and security, transport, light manufacturing and niche agricultural opportunities.