A new international-standard runway has been handed over to Sunshine Coast Airport in Marcoola, Australia, and is now ready for flights.

The new $334m Runway 13/31 is 2,450m long and is over half a kilometre longer than the one it is replacing.

State Development Minister Kate Jones said that the runway will allow new direct flights and larger passenger jets to land, enabling more tourists into the region and the trading of more cargo interstate and overseas.

Jones said: “This runway will be crucial to the economic recovery of the region. It will generate millions of dollars for local businesses through the tourism industry.

“With a longer runway that’s able to accept bigger planes, we’ll be able to negotiate with airlines to secure direct flights from other destinations, not just Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Auckland.”

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said that the new runway will allow Sunshine Coast Airport to accommodate flights to all ports in Australia, as well as Asia and the Western Pacific.

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Furthermore, it will provide Sunshine Coast and the surrounding regions with its own direct travel and export gateway to the world.

Sunshine Coast Council and Palisade Investment Partners, which owns the Sunshine Coast Airport, partnered for the airport expansion project. Queensland Treasury also provided a loan for the project.

The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project secured the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) from the Queensland State Coordinator-General on 19 May 2016.

In July the same year, the Commonwealth Government gave consent to construct and operate a new runway, revised apron and expanded passenger terminal at Sunshine Coast Airport.