Airline lounges, retail shops in stage 1 of airport upgrades

STAGE one of the $41m Rockhampton Airport Terminal Upgrade has jumped up by $2.5 million in a bid to improve operations and the overall financial return.

This extra component would include two airline lounges and two retail spaces.

The total cost of the project has not increased however some works that were planned to be done in stage two, are being proposed to be done in stage one instead.

This means stage one could be $24.5 million, instead of the previous $22 million.

The matter was brought to the Rockhampton Regional Council table at a meeting on Tuesday.

Officers discussed the project at great lengths, taking various questions from councillors.

Stage one construction works began in the first week of April.

The installation of the passenger security equipment and cabin baggage screening equipment is estimated to be completed by the end of this September.

The remaining work of stage one includes essential building refurbishment and electromechanical works as part of the terminal building reconfiguration.

Ths needs to be completed by the end of 2020.

Council officers requested the council table consider committing an additional $2.5 million to the stage one budget, to allow a component to be moved forward.

Rockhampton airport.
Rockhampton airport.

The extra component would allow the construction of two airline lounges and two new concessionaries within the departure lounge.

This would modernise the lounge to be in line with other Australian regional airports.

This extra component would also allow for a greater financial return to council from the airport operation.

Mayor Strelow spoke for bringing it forward as it was unknown when the stage two would begin - it could possibly even be a few years away.

She said by bringing $2.5 million of stage 2 expenditure into stage one forward, it meant council could have an additional income of around $300,000 per annum going forward.

"If the money is not brought forward then we will go some years without a Qantas Lounge," she said.

"And the only coffee or newsagency will be outside the gate lounge.

"It is important for us to encourage people to go through security early because it will be a slower process with the new security system.

Concept designs for the Rockhampton Airport masterplan.
Concept designs for the Rockhampton Airport masterplan.

"A cafe inside the gate lounge would be really important in helping that.

"Separately, of course, we know from experience that we will get better bids for the concessions (people who run cafes and newsagents) if they know that they have both the inside and the outside shop fronts.

"Putting off the capital spend will not mean a lower rate rise - in fact it may be quite the reverse."

However, at the council table there was some confusion and the matter was not passed. It will return to the council table at a further ­meeting.

The original airport upgrade master plan was adopted by council in February this year.

Council has received a grant of $4.3m from the Federal Government's Department of Home Affairs and intends to apply for more state and federal government funding.