Lord Howe Airport works seal runway's future

Media Release

MCC020/2015

22 November 2015

Joint release with:

Mark Speakman

NSW Minister for the Environment

Leslie Williams

Member for Port Macquarie

An $8 million upgrade to the Lord Howe Island airport runway was officially opened today, ensuring the airport's ongoing viability and allowing for heavier aircraft landings.

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack who was onsite for the official runway opening said it had been more than forty years since construction of the original runway by the Australian Army.

“This project has been the largest infrastructure project on Lord Howe Island since the runway was first constructed,” Mr McCormack said.

“Before the runway sealing works were completed the runway was vulnerable to failures. Particularly after heavy rain, it was common for the tarmac to blister when it felt the pressure of a rising water table.

“The Australian and NSW governments each provided $4 million towards the airport upgrade, which also involved important drainage upgrades on the tarmac.”

NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman said that all movements to and from Lord Howe Island were through the airport apart from a small number of movements by boat.

“The airport is core infrastructure for the people of Lord Howe Island, providing for the movement of high-priority freight including mail and playing a critical role in responding to medical emergencies where an air ambulance service is required,” Mr Speakman said.

“A large quantity of materials and equipment, including heavy machinery, was required to be shipped to the island in order to resurface the original bitumen-sealed runway with an asphalt overlay. This was a major logistical feat.

“This upgrade will ensure the airport functions as it should, particularly during bad weather.”

NSW Member for Port Macquarie Leslie Williams said the project was a long-term investment in the sustainability of the island.

“The new grooved asphalt runway surface will extend the life of the underlying runway pavement and shed water quickly, allowing high skid resistance to aircraft during wet weather.

“This project ensures the airport can continue to reliably service the community, travellers, freight, mail, and medical services for years to come.”