NEWCASTLE Airport CEO Paul Hughes said the arrival of the Socceroos in Newcastle last month was a ‘‘huge day’’ of passenger arrivals, and the culmination of a busy month for the Williamtown airport.
The Socceroos were in town for what had been an unexpected, though always possible, semi-final showdown with Iraq in last month’s Asian Cup.
Mr Hughes said that while passenger numbers for January were still being finalised, the entire month had seen ‘‘very solid trading’’.
‘‘Generally the market has been a little bit slow in the last six to 12 months, and January isn’t a strong business month, but the activity around the Asian Cup was very solid, which is what we had expected and anticipated,’’ he said.
The comments come as new figures reveal that the Newcastle Airport contributes $1.19billion annually to the Hunter’s economy.
The airport’s latest economic impact study since 2011, released on Monday, showed that in the last decade the direct and indirect contribution from the Williamtown airport has grown from $233.1million annually in 2005 to $1.19billion in 2015.
Mr Hughes said that was the result of the airport’s growing capabilities during that time, as well as the work put into construction. ‘‘We’ve seen increased volume as more people visit the region, but obviously part of that comes off the back of our increased services,’’ he said.
“The contribution of the airport is widely recognised; however, reports such as this highlight the significant flow-on effects that otherwise would remain invisible to the wider community.”
The airport is on the verge of announcing the completion of the first stage of its $11million terminal upgrade – expected to be later this month – and Mr Hughes said the work was bringing an extra injection.
‘‘The entire construction work is expected to see a $33million injection over the next 12-month period,’’ he said.
Mr Hughes, who announced in December that he was stepping down after 10 years at the helm, finishes up at the end of March.
Under his watch the airport has increased its passenger numbers from 200,000 passengers a year to 1.2million passengers.
EARLIER REPORT: Newcastle Airport's $1.1 billion contribution
NEWCASTLE Airport contributes $1.19 billion annually to the Hunter’s economy, according to new figures.
The Airport’s latest economic impact study, released on Monday, reveals that in the last decade the direct and indirect contribution from the Williamtown airport has grown from $233.1 million annually in 2005 to $1.19 billion in 2015.
That growth is a result of its continued expansion, and the growth in employment; there are currently 3,346 direct and indirect jobs associated with the airport, including 654 in the direct precinct.
Paul Hughes, the Newcastle Airport CEO, said the study displayed the significance of Newcastle Airport as a transport hub.
“Newcastle Airport is the major gateway to the Hunter. We welcome more than 1 million passengers annually, and connect them to Australia and the world,’’ he said.
“The contribution of the Airport is widely recognised; however reports such as this highlight the significant flow-on effects that otherwise would remain invisible to the wider community,”
The Airport’s support to the tourism industry is also significant; the Airport contributes $305 million annually and supports more than 1,750 jobs in this industry.