A NEW runway for Sunshine Coast Airport will help the region trade both domestically and overseas, Queensland state development minister Kate Jones says.

Sunshine Coast Airport is located between Maroochydore and Coolum and historically has been focused mostly upon tourism.

Its new runway is 2450 metres, more than half a kilometre longer than the one it replaces, and has just been handed over to airport operators.

Ms Jones said the longer runway would allow new direct flights and larger jets to land – enabling more cargo to be traded interstate and overseas.

“The Sunshine Coast is a tourism icon but it’s also vital trade hub for hundreds of primary producers in Southeast Queensland,” Ms Jones said.

“This runway will be crucial to the economic recovery of the region. It will generate millions of dollars for local businesses through the tourism industry.

Ms Jones congratulated the Sunshine Coast Airport and Council on the $334m runway project.

“With a longer runway that’s able to accept bigger planes, we’ll be able to negotiate with airlines to secure direct flights from other destinations – not just Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland,” Ms Jones said.

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“In the long-term, we want to bring more tourists to the Sunshine Coast to create more jobs for locals in this sector. New flights are crucial to achieving that.”

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the new runway was the biggest piece of infrastructure Council had delivered.

“A hallmark of successful cities, communities and regions is connectivity and the Sunshine Coast Airport can now accommodate flights to all ports in Australia as well as Asia and the Western Pacific,” he said.

“Importantly, the new international-standard runway will provide the Sunshine Coast and surrounding regions with its own direct travel and export gateway to the world.”

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