TENDERS have been called for the largest upgrade of Warrnambool’s airport since its construction with a $4.92 million aviation park and runway improvement.
The main contract for civil work is expected to be awarded by October to have the park completed by May.
It will entail construction of roads and pads for 20 hangars, service links and upgrading the secondary grassed runway to an all-weather gravel surface.
Automated landing guidance technology will also be added to the main bitumen runway.
The upgrade is a major step in an overall masterplan to make Warrnambool’s airport one of the most modern in regional Australia and open new opportunities for investment and tourism.
Capacity is hamstrung by the existing secondary runway, which is unusable in wet conditions, and the limited storage space of 16 hangars which are fully occupied.
“It is critical to get more hangars because we have had a number of operators wanting to set up, but we haven’t been able to accommodate them,” city council senior projects engineer Rohan McKinnon said.
“There will be new opportunities for businesses associated with aviation servicing and storage and recreational users — it will open up a lot more possibilities.”
Redevelopment is projected to produce $40.7m in economic benefit for the region, create 20 direct jobs and 19 indirect jobs plus 11 in construction work.
State government funding of $4.07m was announced in June, which is in addition to $750,000 from the city council and $100,000 from Moyne Shire Council.
The project will include a turning lane on the Koroit-Mailors Flat Road opposite the airport entrance, hangar access roads, extra aircraft taxiways, drainage and upgrades to electricity and water supplies.
City council manager for infrastructure developments and projects, Justin Hinch, said the improved landing technology would include GPS information, allowing pilots to directly approach the landing strip, and precision approach path lighting indicators.