Sunshine Coast Airport (formerly Maroochydore Airport) (IATA: MCY, ICAO: YBSU) is an Australian airport located at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast and approximately 90 km (56 mi) north of centre of Brisbane, within South East Queensland agglomeration. It is the principal airport for the Sunshine Coast and is the only airport in the region capable of servicing jet aircraft operations.
It is the gateway to holiday destinations such as Noosa, Maroochydore, Mooloolaba, and Caloundra. There are direct daily flights to Sydney and Melbourne. In addition, Air New Zealand serves the city seasonally, with three weekly return flights from Maroochydore to Auckland.
Sunshine Coast Airport is situated in Marcoola 10 km (6.2 mi) north of Maroochydore, and was developed, owned, and operated by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.On 9 February 2017 Sunshine Coast Regional Council mayor Mark Jamieson announced that Palisade Investment Partners had been awarded a 99-year lease to operate the airport, with the lease running until 2116.
The Queensland Government granted a parcel of land to the Maroochy Shire Council in 1958 for use as a general aviation airstrip. The first test landing on a grass strip was on 16 August 1959. The airstrip was initially used by the Maroochy Aero Club and Queensland Parachute Club. Maroochy Shire Council funded the construction of a 4,500 ft (1,400 m) sealed runway, suitable for aircraft up to the Fokker F27 Friendship, which opened on 12 August 1961. With the commencement of regular public transport services, the airstrip was renamed Maroochydore Airport. Lights for night landings were provided in 1974.
A terminal building was constructed in 1979. The runway was extended to 1,797 m (5,896 ft) in 1983 to allow the operation of Fokker F28 Fellowship and BAe 146 regional jets. The runway was upgraded again in 1993 to allow the operation of larger Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 jets. A new terminal building was completed in 1997 and the airport was renamed Sunshine Coast Airport. On 3 June 2010, the airport changed its name from "Maroochydore-Sunshine Coast Airport" to "Sunshine Coast Airport" and changed its ICAO code from YBMC to YBSU.On 14 June 2020, a new runway capable of handling wide-body jets was opened, replacing existing runway 18/36.
The airport supports a number of regular public transport services (with Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A320 aircraft) and a variety of general aviation activities. These activities are in keeping with the increasing demands of tourism, passenger traffic, general aviation and commercial development opportunities and flight training (Aero Dynamic Flight Academy) .
The airport handles aircraft movements of around 87,000 per annum, has a capacity of 900,000 passenger movements per annum. In 2009, the airport handled 916,845 passengers making it the 15th busiest airport in Australia.
In February 2012, Air New Zealand announced plans to launch a new twice-weekly between Auckland and Sunshine Coast Airport, to operate seasonally from July to September. This was the airport's first international services. Sunshine Coast Airport had built customs, immigration and quarantine facilities ahead of the first flight. On 12 November, Air New Zealand announced that the season would be extended in 2013, with flights operating from June to October. Air New Zealand committed to operating the services until at least 2017. On 16 October 2019, Air New Zealand in conjunction with the Queensland Government announced the season will be extended in 2020 until 2023, with flights operating from April to October.
As of 2016, the only scheduled domestic routes are to southern state capitals, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide commencing 30 September 2016. These are serviced by Jetstar, QantasLink and Virgin Australia. There are no scheduled flights north or to any other destinations in Queensland, although surveys have shown a high demand for flights north.
A total of 244,708 passengers used the flight services at Sunshine Coast Airport between December 2015 and February 2016. Jetstar, QantasLink and Virgin all increased their services for the summer season.
In 2016 Sunshine Coast Airport's domestic airline partners added more than 65,000 extra seats. The additions include 24,200 more seats to and from Sydney, 16,920 extra on the Melbourne–Sunshine Coast route, as well as 23,400 seats on the new Adelaide service provided by Jetstar.
The airport has one terminal. During the Air New Zealand seasonal flights to Auckland the terminal can be split into an international and domestic terminal. It has one-storey and there are no aerobridges, and passengers must take a short walk on the tarmac to reach their aircraft.
There are a few food and shopping outlets within the terminal for passengers. Each of the three airlines operating have dedicated check-in desks and gates. There are two baggage carousels, TV monitors, a taxi rank, shuttle bus services and hire-car desks. The departure lounge is fairly large, with seating available for about 300 people.
Airport transport options
The airport has a range of transport options to and from the airport. The local taxi service is Suncoast Cabs.
The airport shuttle service is run by several companies offering shuttle transfer to Sunshine Coast hotels and private residences to all suburbs south of the Sunshine Coast Airport including Twin Waters, Maroochydore, Alexandra Headland, Mooloolaba, Kawana, Buderim, Caloundra, Golden Beach and Pelican Waters.
The airport used to have two runways. The longer main runway, 18/36, handled the jets (737, A320) and the shorter runway 12/30 handled general aviation. 12/30 has since been replaced with 13/31, a larger 2,450 m (8,040 ft) runway. 13/31 is now the only active runway at Sunshine Coast Airport.
In June 2020, a new runway 2,450 m (8,040 ft) in length named 13/31 was opened. This replaced the existing 650 m (2,130 ft) runway 12/30 and allowed for operation of aircraft larger and with longer range than the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 with minimal impact on nearby residents. Use of wide body aircraft such as Airbus A330 and Boeing 777, 787 would allow for direct flights to Southeast Asia, China and Hawaii, as well as additional domestic flights.
A series of environmental considerations were given to the expansion, including the Coordinator-General’s recommendation to ensure the requirements for tidal flap to allow conveyance of floodwater and avoid submergence of mangrove roots for extended periods. Other requirement such as offsetting to provide additional critical habitat for vulnerable flora and fauna including revegetation of sections to provide adequate and alternate suitable wildlife corridors for species.
Airlines and destinations
|Alliance Airlines||Cairns, Canberra|
|Air New Zealand||Seasonal: Auckland|
|Jetstar Airways||Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney|
|Virgin Australia||Melbourne, Sydney|
|Rank||Airport||Passengers 2015||Passengers 2016||Passengers 2017||Passengers 2018||% Change (12 month)|
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