Work has started on a $70 million expansion of the Busselton-Margaret River regional airport, after Ertech and Arup were awarded contracts for development of the project.
Work under Ertech's contract will include the lengthening, widening and strengthening of the existing runway, construction of new apron parking bays and connecting taxiways, and new aeronautical ground lighting.
Construction on the new terminal and landside facilities won't start until late 2017.
The expansion will allow the airport to cater for direct flights to and from capital cities on the east coast, with scope for future direct international flights as well.
The $69.7 million project was announced in October last year, with the Commonwealth committing $9.8 million and the balance being funded through the state government’s Royalties for Regions program.
The City of Busselton has also spent $3.5 million on the redevelopment.
“The development of interstate air services to the region will attract new interstate visitors and bring additional tourism opportunities, which will have significant benefits for local businesses and enable broader economic and industry development in the South West,” Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said.
“It will also have a positive impact on long-term regional development by lowering the cost of doing business in the region, attracting regional investment and creating local employment opportunities in logistics, agriculture, aquaculture and other supporting industries.”
Transport Minister Bill Marmion said the expansion would include upgrades to the runway and a new passenger terminal to allow bigger planes to land at the airport, plus additional terminal capacity to accommodate more visitors at a time.
City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley said he was confident that the city would be able to deliver a project that would bring positive outcomes for the community.
"The project will create local employment opportunities during construction and support long-term regional development by bolstering regional tourism; attracting new visitors to the region, increasing the length of stay and expenditure," he said.
The expansion is scheduled for completion by late next year.