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Tasmania’s Stories

Airport predicts 3m pax a year

Edition 192_Renner

Hobart International Airport had the busiest day in its history on Boxing Day and is expecting three million passengers a year by 2022.

Launceston Airport is winning national accolades for the way it has geared up for Tasmania's tourism boom, while Devonport's airport is developing its own master plan to enable it to keep up.

The TT-Line will deploy two new ships by 2022 to meet projected demand and airport operators know they can't afford to lag.

The Chief Executive of Hobart Airport, Sarah Renner, believes there will be direct flights from Asia and New Zealand by 2022 and she has plans to also target flights from the Americas.

A direct link to Hong Kong is firmly on the radar after visits to China's gateway by a delegation from Hobart Airport and the State Government.

Direct flights from other Asian cities are also on the drawing board following the official opening of a 500m runway extension in February.

The runway has been extended from 2,224m to 2,724m (150m on the Pittwater end and 350m towards Seven Mile Beach).

Turning nodes have been relocated and expanded to allow larger and heavier aircraft to use the runway.

The project has three primary goals: opening direct export routes between Tasmania and Asia to service seafood and other fresh-produce markets; fuelling tourism; and cementing Tasmania’s position as an Antarctic gateway by increasing aviation capability.

Ms Renner told a media conference at the official opening: “We are talking with airlines internationally, we have certainly spoken about New Zealand [which would link] Tasmania to the Americas and South-East Asia, hopefully, opening up Europe to Tasmania.

The $40 million project was enabled through a $38 million infrastructure grant from the Australian Government.

Ms Renner said: “The extension will immediately increase our reach as an airport, enabling direct flights from Hobart to South East Asia, as an example, and will also enhance Hobart’s role as a gateway to the Antarctic.

“The runway extension will now allow large, fully loaded aircraft to travel directly from Hobart to the ice continent, making Hobart an extremely competitive Antarctic gateway.

“The continued development has followed an increase in passenger numbers from 1.8 million in 2009 to 2.52 million in 2017, and we expect similar growth into the future,” she said.

When it was privatised 1998, the airport was receiving 856,000 passengers a year.

Other recent changes at the airport include the relocation of security screening systems, an expanded terminal, front of house developments and the installation of new airfield lighting systems.

A $13 million export-freight facility is planned.

Ms Renner told The Sunday Tasmanian: "Imagine a punnet of berries hand-picked from a farm in the Coal Valley one day and then being purchased at a market in southern Asia the very next.

"The possibilities this will open up are immense."

Domestic flights have surged, including direct Jetstar flights from Hobart to Adelaide, direct Tiger Air flights from Hobart to the Gold Coast and more seats on Qantas aircraft flying between Hobart and Sydney and Melbourne.

Ms Renner said: "Growth has been driven by a whole-of-industry effort, which has seen private operators, the State Government and Tourism Tasmania and industry bodies working effectively together."

The airport accommodated 76 aircraft movements on a jam-packed Boxing Day, with more than 7,000 visitors flying in.

Ms Renner said more passengers than Tasmania’s population passed through the airport’s gates in December and January.

“Boxing Day was our busiest day ever ... eclipsing our previous record of 68 aircraft movements,” she said.

Professor Can Seng Ooi, a Co-Director of the Tourism Research and Education Network at UTAS, said further airport upgrades would likely be needed to accommodate three million passengers each year.

“There will probably need to be a bigger, more comfortable terminal for the passengers,” he said.

Economist Saul Eslake said the airport needed to seriously consider aerobridges to make passenger disembarkation more comfortable.

The increased traffic has caused flight-path adjustments, and some residents of Kellevie, Copping, Dunalley and Boomer Bay have complained about increased aircraft noise.

Meanwhile, Launceston Airport has been named Australia’s Major Airport of the Year for a third year in a row by the Australian Airports Association.

It’s the first time any Australian airport has won such a trifecta.

The airport's General Manager, Paul Hodgen, said: “I am thrilled that Launceston Airport has again been recognised for providing great customer experiences and quality operations, and it’s a testament to our staff and to the wider airport community.

“We are focused on putting the traveller first and that is evident in our terminal upgrades, which include improved dining options, enhanced seating, free Wi-Fi, together with additional toilet and shower facilities in the check-in hall.

“What makes the airport special is that our investment and upgrades clearly reflect elements of our beautiful region.

“We serve more than 1.3 million travellers annually and we make a real effort to create a sense of place at the airport for arriving visitors.”

He said the airport now saw itself as a brand champion for Tasmania.

"We are showcasing the character, products and produce that our wonderful State has to offer,” said Mr Hodgen.

“Airports are key drivers of regional economic prosperity, connecting communities and businesses with each other and the world.

“We are proud to act as the gateway to Launceston, facilitating tourism and freight opportunities to Australia’s major cities.”

Tasmania's third major airport at Devonport is working on a 15-year master plan with more frequent flights to a greater range of destinations as a priority.

Operator, TasPorts, is consulting with the State Government, Devonport and Latrobe councils, airlines, local industry, the community and other stakeholders on the plan.

Ideas being explored include the development of a commercial precinct around the airport, air freight opportunities, direct flights to Hobart and aviation training opportunities.

The airport's General Manager, Dave Race, said discussions with some airlines had started.

“The general feel is that they weren’t aware of the vibrancy and growth of the north-west coast,” he told The Advocate.

Mr Race said Devonport’s urban renewal project, Living City, provided great opportunities for future growth at the airport.

Devonport's Mayor, Steve Martin (who was sworn into the Australian Senate in February), said the airport had “huge potential” to become an entry point into the region.

“It has that potential definitely to be a destination point for tourists to come in and experience the fine foods and produce that we have and open up the entire Cradle Mountain region, but also the north-west and west coast,” he said.

Image courtesy of The Mercury

8 March 2018, Edition 192

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Facts about Tasmania


Tasmania is the southernmost state of Australia, located at latitude 40° south and longitude 144° east and separated from the continent by Bass Strait. It is a group of 334 islands, with the main island being 315 km (180 miles) from west to east and 286 km (175 miles) north to south.


Tasmanians are resourceful and innovative people, committed to a continually expanding export sector. In 2012–13, international exports from the state totalled $3.04 billion. USA, China, Taiwan, India, Japan and other Asian countries account for the bulk of exports, with goods and services also exported to Europe and many other regions.


Tasmania is similar in size to the Republic of Ireland or Sri Lanka. The Tasmanian islands have a combined coastline of more than 3,000 km.


The main island has a land area of 62,409 sq km (24,096 sq miles) and the minor islands, taken together, total only 6 per cent of the main island’s land area. The biggest islands are Flinders (1,374 sq km/539 sq miles), King, Cape Barren, Bruny and Macquarie Islands.


About 250km (150 miles) separates Tasmania’s main island from continental Australia. The Kent Group of Islands, one of the most northerly parts of the state, is only 55km (34 miles) from the coast of the Australian continent.


Twice named ‘Best Temperate Island in the World’ by international travel magazine Conde Nast Traveler, Tasmania has a mild, temperate maritime climate, with four distinct seasons.


In summer (December to February) the average maximum temperature is 21° Celsius (70° Fahrenheit). In winter (June to August) the average maximum is 12° C (52° F) and the average minimum is 4° C (40° F). Snow often falls in the highlands, but is rarely experienced in more settled areas.

Annual Rainfall

Tasmania’s west coast is one of the wettest places in the world, but the eastern part of the State lives in a rain-shadow. Hobart, the second-driest capital city in Australia, receives about half as much rain as Sydney.

Annual Rainfall

Annual rainfall in the west is 2,400 mm (95 inches), but hardy locals insist there is no such thing as bad weather, only inadequate clothing. If you travel 120 km east to Hobart, you experience a much drier average of 626 mm (24 inches) a year.


The 512,875-strong community spreads itself across the land; less urbanised than the population of any other Australian state. Hobart, the capital city, is home to more than 212,000 people.

Capital City

Hobart nestles at the foot of kunanyi / Mount Wellington (1,270 m / 4,000 ft) and overlooks the Derwent Estuary, where pods of dolphins and migrating whales are sometimes seen from nearby beaches. Surrounded by thickly forested rolling hills, the city is home to the state parliament and the main campus of the University of Tasmania.

Capital City

Its historic centre features Georgian and Regency buildings from colonial times. Hobart is home port for coastal fishing boats, Antarctic expeditions and vessels that fish the Southern Ocean.

Land Formation

Mountain ranges in the south-west date back 1,000 million years. Ancient sediments were deeply buried, folded and heated under enormous pressure to form schists and glistening white quartzites.

Land Formation

In the south-west and central highlands, dolerite caps many mountains, including Precipitous Bluff and Tasmania’s highest peak, Mt Ossa (1617 m / 5300 ft). More than 42 per cent of Tasmania is World Heritage Area, national park and marine or forest reserves.


Vegetation is diverse, from alpine heathlands and tall open eucalypt forests to areas of temperate rainforests and moorlands, known as buttongrass plains. Many plants are unique to Tasmania and the ancestors of some species grew on the ancient super-continent, Gondwana, before it broke up 50 million years ago.


Unique native conifers include slow-growing Huon pines, with one specimen on Mt Read estimated to be up to 10,000 years old. Lomatia tasmanica, commonly known as King’s holly, is a self-cloning shrub that may well be the oldest living organism on earth. It was discovered in 1937.


Tasmania is the last refuge of several mammals that once roamed the Australian continent. It is the only place to see a Tasmanian devil or eastern quoll (native cat) in the wild and is the best place to see the spotted-tailed quoll (tiger cat), all carnivorous marsupials.


The eastern bettong and the Tasmanian pademelon, both now extinct on the Australian continent, may also be observed.


The Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, was Australia’s largest surviving carnivorous marsupial and is a modern day mystery. The last documented thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and although the animal is considered extinct, unsubstantiated sightings persist.

History and Heritage

Aboriginal people have lived in Tasmania for about 35,000 years, since well before the last Ice Age. They were isolated from the Australian continent about 12,000 years ago, when the seas rose to flood low coastal plains and form Bass Strait.

History and Heritage

Descendants of the original people are part of modern Tasmania’s predominantly Anglo-Celtic population.

History and Heritage

Tasmania was originally named Van Dieman’s Land by the Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman in 1642. The island was settled by the British as a penal colony in 1803 and the original name was associated with the convict era. It was changed to Tasmania when convict transportation stopped in 1853.


A resourceful island culture has generated leading-edge niche industries, from production of high-speed catamaran ferries and marine equipment to lightning-protection technology.


Tasmanians produce winches and windlasses for some of the world’s biggest ocean-going pleasure craft; large-scale inflatable evacuation systems and provide specialist outfit-accommodation services to the marine industry.


The Wooden Boat Centre at Shipwrights Point has re-established the skills and traditions of another age and attracts students from around the world.


Tasmania is a world leader in natural turf systems for major sporting arenas and in areas of mining technology and environmental management. Its aquaculture industry has developed ground-breaking fish-feeding technology and new packaging.


Tasmanians sell communications equipment to many navies and their world-class fine timber designers and craftsmen take orders internationally for furniture made from distinctive local timber.


The state is a natural larder with clean air, unpolluted water and rich soils inviting the production of 100 varieties of specialty cheeses, as well as other dairy products, mouth-watering rock lobsters, oysters, scallops and abalone, Atlantic salmon, beef, premium beers, leatherwood honey, mineral waters, fine chocolates, fresh berry fruits, apples and crisp vegetables.


Tasmania is a producer of award-winning cool-climate wines, beers, ciders and whiskies. Other export products include essential oils such as lavender, pharmaceutical products and premium wool sought after in Europe and Asia. Hobart is a vital gateway to the Antarctic and a centre for Southern Ocean and polar research.


The industries in Tasmania which made the greatest contribution to the State’s gross product in 2010–11 in volume terms were: Manufacturing (9.4%), Health care and social assistance (8.2%), Financial and insurance services (7.2%), Ownership of dwellings and Agriculture, forestry and fishing (each 7.1%).

Getting to Tasmania

Travel is easy, whether by air from Sydney or Melbourne, or by sea, with daily sailings of the twin ferries Spirit of Tasmania 1 and 2 each way between Melbourne and Devonport throughout the year.

This site has been produced by the Brand Tasmania Council © 2014

Brand Tasmania

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