History of Gladstone Airport

The history of the Airport dates back to February, 1929 when the Mayor and Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce at the time, placed an advertisement in local paper inviting interested persons to attend a meeting with a view to arrangements being made for a safe landing ground for aeroplanes in Gladstone. The property owner at the time a Mr A. H. Janson, wanted one pound ten shillings per acre for the airport site but this was considered to be far too high. Obviously negotiations must have broken down as it was more than twenty years later before the landing ground at Gladstone was established.

23rd April, 1953 - a joint meeting of both the Calliope Shire and Gladstone Town Council was conducted and an application was made to State Government for subsidy to construct the airport.

10th November, 1954 - joint councils decided that negotiations be made with Theiss brothers to purchase the land offering $10,000. The land was subsequently resumed.

13th April, 1956 - tender accepted for the original terminal building $2,262. The building which was referred to as the "waiting room" was used from 1957 to 1972 and is now located at the Port Curtis Historic Village on the Bruce Highway at the Calliope River.

27th April, 1957 - official opening of the Airfield by Senator Shane Paetridge (Minister for Air).

12th September, 1958 - the Board agreed to enter into the "Aerodrome Local Ownership Plan" with the Commonwealth Government which provided for a 50/50 cost sharing arrangement for maintenance and capital works.

8th February, 1962 - first telephone installed at airport.

19th July, 1963 - the Board approved the installation of the non-directional beacon (radio navigation aid).

19th July, 1963 - first seal of the runway was undertaken at a cost of $37,000.

10th February, 1966 - the joint Gladstone/Calliope Aerodrome was constituted under the provisions of the Local Government Act.

18th June, 1971 - A tender by G Young and Sons for $36,445 was accepted to construct a new terminal building. This complex was used from March 1972 until August 1983 at which time it was converted into a licensed food concession facility. The roof and kitchen area of the current bistro is all that remains of that structure.

29th November, 1982 - The tender of Tobin Constructions Pty Ltd for construction of the current terminal building was awarded at a cost of $559,819.

24th January, 1983 - The tender of Crossley Constructions for the construction of the current car parking facilities was awarded at a cost of $204,390.

15th August, 1983 - First passengers through current terminal building. Also, during this period, an unprecedented level of private investment occurred at the Gladstone Airport. Projects with a total cost in excess of $375,000, including a helicopter hanger and service facility, a pilot training and charter centre, a 57 bay sealed rent a car parking facility, a rental car service and refuelling facility and a licensed food concession facility were constructed.

June, 1986 - The Australian Army agreed to construct the first stage of the parallel taxiway as part of the Kangaroo 86 exercise.

1st July, 1990 An agreement was signed with the Commonwealth Government in which the Commonwealth withdrew from the Aerodrome Local ownership plan. As part of the agreement the Commonwealth paid the Gladstone-Calliope Aerodrome Board $283,000 being;

  • $183,000 for interim F28 upgrading works undertaken in 1987/1988.
  • $90,000 towards parallel taxiway construction.
  • $10,000 towards future concept planning.

1st November, 1993 - The Board purchased the Shell refuelling facility at Gladstone Airport.

October, 1994 - The long term car park was opened.

December 1995 - An asphalt overlay of the runway was completed at a cost of $235,000.

September, 1996 - Tender for the construction of two new apron parking positions for larger aircraft was awarded to Gladstone City Council.

June, 1997 - Installation of security surveillance equipment to the value of $50,000 was completed.

August, 1997- Runway resurfacing and construction of taxiways to the value of $1.2 million was completed. The Board borrowed $750,000 from Queensland Treasury Corporation to finance this project.

April, 1998 - Taxiways lighting and illuminated Windsocks to the value of $56,000 were installed.

Passenger traffic grew considerably from approximately 17,760 in 1966 to 104,000 passengers per annum in 2001. During this time the terminal facility had been upgraded on three separate occasions.

In 2001 the Terminal was upgraded and refurbished to provide a separate arrivals hall and departure lounge, automated baggage handling, new bistro and a flight information display system. The cost of this project was $1,500,000.

2008 - Gladstone Regional Council decided to reconstruct the airport's runway due to deterioration and need to improve its longitudinal profile, to provide continued operations for existing aircraft services. Council's technical advisors devise a 'staged' approach to reconstruction to allow airport to remain operational throughout the project.

March 2009 - Golding Contractors was awarded $45m reconstruction project contract. The runway extension and reconstruction began in May 2009 and involved extending the runway from 1635 metres to 1965 metres and was completed in stages to allow aircraft operations to continue with minimal disruption.

August 2010 - Council commissions runway and celebrates arrival of first commercial aircraft. The scope of works included Runway 10/28 reconstruction, upgrading the taxiway system and terminal apron parking areas and constructing of general aviation aircraft parking and landside car parks.

Late 2010 - Realignment of Callemondah Drive was completed including the rail line overpass which allowed extension of the runway to the east.

2010 /2011 - The Terminal Building was extensively refurbished and extended to the east with the addition of 2,200 square metres, at a cost of $10m. The extension provided for a large departures lounge with space for airline club lounges, back of house area for amenities and checked baggage screening and a basement baggage make-up area. The work was completed and commissioned on 17 April 2011

2011 - Saw the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) change the standards relating to the runway width

1 July 2012 - Gladstone Regional Council corporatised Gladstone Airport. and established an independent non-Executive Board and CEO.

July 2013 - Gladstone Airport passenger movements reach a new peak of 533,000 per annum.

March 2014 - GAC commissions a CAT1 Instrument Landing System (ILS) and Distance Measuring Equipment and associated works funded by the Gladstone LNG industry at a cost of $ 10m.

December 2014 - GAC completes widening of Briffney Creek culvert, a Runway 28 threshold and other works for Runway 10 to be a fully compliant code 4C precision approach runway at a cost of $3.3m.

January 2015 - AirServices Australia commissions its new Airport Rescue and Fire Fignting (ARFF) Fire Station on Gladstone Airport at a cost of $9.2m.