In order to be considered as a major city or metropolis around the world an airport is a must. And these days it really needs to be an international one. Newcastle has had an airport for quite some time, but now it has become international and that’s a pretty big deal for a city with big aspirations. In this article we’ll be highlighting What Having International Flights Will Do For Newcastle and the surrounding areas.
Starting with a bit of history is always good, so here’s some background. Large-scale aviation first started on the site in early 1941 when the Australian military set up Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Station Williamtown to provide protection to the Hunter Region’s steel manufacturing and port facilities. Civil aviation started at the existing RAAF airport in 1947 when the Australian Government ordered the change. In 1990 control and responsibility was handed over to Newcastle City Council and Port Stephens Council jointly. The site is around 15km north of Newcastle, but around 25km by road. The airport and associated businesses employ large numbers of people in the area, this makes it one of the biggest employers in the Hunter region. The airport runway is shared with the military and will need to be developed in order to allow larger Airbus A330 and Boeing 787-sized aircraft to take off and land. Now that’s out of the way lets look at the here and now, and into the future.
Although the main focus of Newcastle Airport going international is on the city itself, it has to be mentioned that it will affect the areas surrounding the airport and further afield. As everyone knows, there are always ups and downs to airport expansions (no pun intended) but the hope is that the impact will be positive overall. And the airport isn’t your average airport because it has one of Australia’s largest military airports associated with it. This means that the changes on the ground and in the sky have far reaching effects on both society and its governing and supporting bodies.
It is integral to the growth of the city that Newcastle Airport services the needs of its citizens and those who want to visit Newcastle. Over the past twenty years or so Newcastle has undergone massive changes, and is now in an unprecedented period of growth and expansion. Newcastle has an interesting and grand industrial history, but over time the types of jobs have shifted from blue collar to white collar, and now the city is working hard to become a tech centre along with supporting the development of other cutting-edge industries. There is also a massive building boom happening to house all the people associated with these work places. Yes, Newcastle has a range of hospitals and a good university, both of which attract large numbers of people to the city and help to keep many locals local. In addition, plenty of Sydney-based businesses are now looking at Newcastle as a possible new home for their head office. However, things such as this need to be underpinned or at the very least supported by solid infrastructure – having an airport is great, having an international airport is even better.
When chatting about What Having International Flights Will Do For Newcastle, the expansion of Newcastle Airport or just the airport itself, one topic of conversation comes up time and time again – the transport to and from the airport, or the lack of. And this might be the Achilles Heel as it’s all well and good having an airport that has international facilities, but people arriving or departing won’t be impressed if their only option is by road via a bus, taxi or private car. Vast sums of money have been spent putting in a light rail to open up the city and link the Newcastle CBD to other areas, so surely this has to be expanded to link up the airport too!?
The other point of interest in the debate is Sydney Airport and the fact that currently flying in or out of it is vastly cheaper than Newcastle. Though with that said, if you live in Newcastle you have to drive or catch the train, which is pretty hard going after landing at 6am and disembarking a long-hall flight. There is definitely a need and want for convenient international travel from Newcastle, but this definitely isn’t a reality just yet.
Everything Is Connected
The good news is that everything is connected, so the more Newcastle grows the more likely it is for the transport connecting it to its airport will improve, and the more Newcastle Airport grows… well, growth equals jobs, and that’s one thing a city needs to keep going.
Newcastle is one of the hidden gems of the NSW coastline and it is just a matter of time before more people discover it and what it has to offer. It has amazing beaches, restaurants, cafes, etc. And it is backed-up by the Hunter Valley, which is now a recognised wine location around the world. Add to this the local sporting teams and events such as the V8 Supercars and you start to see that the spotlight does shine on Newcastle paper writings from time to time. The port now even plays host to cruise ships, which gives travellers the option to visit Newy briefly, but in style! With the airport opening up to international travel, more people will hopefully get to enjoy a slice of everything Newcastle has to offer.
You can find out more about Newcastle in our Driving Past Newcastle, How The Face Of Newcastle Is Changing and New To Newy articles.