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Geraldton Airport Upgrade Project

The Geraldton Airport Upgrade Project which includes the resurfacing of the 1981m long airport runway and extending it to 2400m began in October 2018 and was completed in September 2019. The project is is set to deliver short-term economic outcomes for the community by employing locally based contractors to deliver the works and long-term economic outcomes for the community in terms of growing international tourism and facilitating new airfreight export opportunities.

Aerial photo of airport


In early 1999, the 1981m x 45m main runway asphalt overlay was renewed. Asphalt working layers on runways typically have a working life of about 15 years before requiring rehabilitation and renewal. Although the working life of the asphalt on the main runway was extended to nearly 20 years, its rate of deterioration has accelerated and rehabilitation and renewal is now essential to protect and ensure continuation of air services through the City.

Currently, the Geraldton Airport can accommodate unrestricted operation of 100-seat jet aircraft types such as Boeing 717 or Fokker F100 along with infrequent restricted operation of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft and other larger type (e.g. RAAF C17) permitted with landing weight concessions for aircraft able to operate within the existing 1981m long runway. As of October 2018, both Qantas Link and Virgin operate Fokker F100 jets on their daily services on the Perth-Geraldton route.

Rather than just renew the existing runway and current capacity of the airport additional short-term and emergent needs were considered.

Project Benefits and Opportunities

Ability for larger aircraft types to be accommodated at Geraldton represents an important whole-of-network role for WA aviation and tourism and export industries.

  • The City could provide an alternative landing airport within one-hour flight distance, for domestic or international traffic inbound to Perth Airport which are unable to land there due to fog, storm or other reason. Ability to designate Geraldton as their landing alternative enables carriers to plan aircraft reserve fuel loads accordingly. Kalgoorlie and Busselton airports are able to play similar roles, giving airlines options for different conditions and seasons of the year. For larger class 4E aircraft like Airbus A330 and A350, and Boeing B777and B787, most international carriers inbound to Perth currently designate Adelaide Airport as their alternative landing airport for Perth. The cost of carrying reserve fuel for such long distance diversions is substantial and has handicapped passenger and freight yields for airlines, keeping WA as an expensive interstate and international tourist destination.
  • Opportunities to develop interstate and international passenger and/or freight services that would be enabled and supported by increased airport infrastructure capacity, for operation of larger aircraft types, to grow Mid West regional tourism and trade, consistent with prospects identified during development of the Growing Greater Geraldton Plan.

Council's Considerations

City Council resolved to upgrade the capacity of Geraldton Airport, to enable the unrestricted operation of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft types, and to enable operation of larger aircraft types such as the Airbus A330. The City considered the alternative of undertaking just an existing infrastructure renewal project, and a later capacity upgrade project, but resolved to undertake a combined capacity renewal and upgrade project:

  • To achieve reduced overall capital costs; and
  • Recognising the very significant catalytic effect of airports - to enable earlier pursuit by regional businesses of emerging City and near-region economic development and employment growth opportunities.

With commitment from the State Government to assist funding of the capacity renewal components of the proposed project, a business case was developed to support a successful application to the Commonwealth Government seeking Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) capital grant assistance for the capacity upgrade.  More here

Project Funding

Construction on the $24 million Airport Runway Resurfacing and Extension Project is jointly funded with the Australian Government Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) contributing $10 million, the State Government Regional Airports Development Scheme (RADS) $6.5 million and the City $7.5 million.

BBRF Logo        Dept of Transport Logo

Project Delivery

A competitive Request for Tender process was undertaken, in which WBHO Infrastructure Pty Ltd was awarded the construction contract. Their asphalt partner for the project is Boral. More here

Both companies have long established presence in the City and the region, so this City project will deliver a high proportion of local content, with local economic flow-on and employment benefits.

Full design of the works was previously commissioned by the City, undertaken by Airport Management Services (AMS), and AMS have been retained to provide specialist aviation infrastructure project management and delivery oversight expertise to the City, for the duration of the construction project.

Project Scope

  • Rehabilitation and new asphalt overlays on existing airport pavements – the main runway 03/21, taxiway, and the main apron.
  • Replacement of legacy main runway landing lights with new LED landing lights placed at compliant 60m centres.
  • Extension of main runway 03/21 pavement length from 1981m x 45m to 2400m x 45m.
  • Relocation and replacement of Precision Approach Position Indicator.
  • Raising and sealing of pavement shoulders.
  • Addition of turning nodes at both ends of the main runway, for operation of larger aircraft types.
  • Widening of the main taxiway for operation of larger aircraft types.
  • Expansion of the main apron, with additional night lighting as necessary, to add a new parking bay and provide necessary taxiway clearances for operation of larger aircraft types such as Airbus A330. Existing five bays will all be able to accommodate Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 aircraft types.
  • Associated road works.

Project Overview

View Project Overview PDF here

Project design