ACT News

Canberra airport master plan approved, paving way for 24-hour freight flights

The federal government have approved the Canberra Airport's new master plan, which includes an intention to use its 24-hour status to become Sydney's freight airport.

The plan was released for public comment in March last year and was approved by Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on Thursday.

A plane departs Canberra, viewed from the airport tower.
A plane departs Canberra, viewed from the airport tower.  Photo: Jay Cronan

Mr Truss said the plan targets "the long-awaited commencement of flights to international destinations and by low-cost carriers" from Canberra.

Most controversially, the plan sets out the airport's intention to take on Sydney's freight traffic which the airport say will equate to economic stimulus and 1000 jobs.

The new Canberra Airport master plan will give it the capacity to take freight flights over a 24-hour period.
The new Canberra Airport master plan will give it the capacity to take freight flights over a 24-hour period. 

This has previously been opposed by Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury who said in March that Canberrans did not "want to inherit Sydney's night-time noise".

Canberra Airport said the noise will only impact 750 homes.

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"The impact on the community from night freight flights is mitigated by the fact aircraft can arrive and depart into Canberra Airport without overflying residential areas,

"Of the 165,000 houses located in Canberra and Queanbeyan only 750 are located ... outside the Canberra and Queanbeyan Noise Abatement Zones," the master plan states.

Deputy PM Warren Truss says the plan targets 'the long-awaited commencement of flights to international destinations' ...
Deputy PM Warren Truss says the plan targets 'the long-awaited commencement of flights to international destinations' from Canberra. Photo: Andrew Meares

The freight hub is expected to begin operations in five to seven years time, starting with two to three jet freighter aircraft a night, "growing to five aircraft within three years of commencement". 

This could expand "indefinitely" into the future, according to the plan.

The plan also includes a new air traffic control tower and an expansion of airline catering, maintenance and freight businesses at the southern end of Pialligo precinct.

The expansion of commercial activities would mean some general aviation planes would move from the Pialligo precinct to Glenora precinct on the eastern side - where hangars will be built.

An expansion of the passenger terminal is also proposed in the plan.

This is in addition to the 191-room hotel already under construction in the area, due for completion in October.