The airports in Cairns and Mackay will see A$155m ($102.4m) of investment through funding granted by the national government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. 

The loan will be provided to North Queensland Airports (NQA), the airports’ management company, with the majority going towards a major terminal refurbishment at Cairns. 

NQA CEO Richard Barker said: “The extensive infrastructure upgrades that will be assisted by this loan will set our airports up for ongoing success as our communities develop and grow. 

“This loan recognises our airports’ critical roles across the Cairns and Mackay regions, contributing to tourism, freight, business, the resources industry and more.” 

Cairns, Australia’s seventh busiest airport for international passengers, will receive its first major upgrade in more than three decades thanks to the loan: adding capacity to the baggage collection halls, refurbishing the departure lounge, and developing a new aviation precinct with additional aircraft stands and taxiways. 

In Mackay, the airport will see tarmac upgrades for its runway, apron and taxiway surfaces, as well as the development of a mixed retail and commercial precinct. 

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According to government estimates, the two projects will directly and indirectly create 500 jobs during construction and around 1,500 regional jobs once completed. 

Senator for Queensland Anthony Chisholm said: “Being Australia’s most decentralised state, airports like Mackay and Cairns play a vital role in making sure Queensland continues to be a great place to live and visit.   

“Projects like these are another great example of the excellent work NAIF does by stimulating economic growth through backing critical infrastructure developments.” 

The airport investments come shorty after it was revealed that Perth Airport, the fourth busiest in the country, was building a A$3bn terminal and runway to accommodate Qantas and Jetstar flights.