Brisbane's Archerfield Airport last night was named Metropolitan Airport of the Year in the 2021 Australian Airports Association (AAA) awards.
Archerfield won the award thanks to a program of infrastructure modernisation undertaken by Archerfield Airport Corporation (AAC) to rejuvenate ageing infrastructure, including strengthening and elongating the main runway, upgrading taxiways and installing a new lighting system.
AAC General Manager Rod Parry said the award was fitting recognition for the work of his team.
“Project AIM [Airside Infrastructure Modernisation] has transformed Archerfield Airport with a modern runway and lighting system that have significantly boosted operational efficiency, economic performance, safety and environmental management,” he said.
“Modernised facilities mean Archerfield can better meet the needs of existing and future operators and adapt to aeronautical demand. The runway’s increased strength will enable next generation, quieter aircraft to operate from Archerfield.
“The installation of new LED airfield ground lighting, along with Runway End Safety Areas at both ends, Precision Approach Path Indicators, Runway Threshold Identification Lights, and a new Airport Lighting Equipment Room, means Archerfield can operate safely in a wider range of weather conditions and provide an unmatched training experience for student pilots.
Parry also said that the project had "instigated a surge in enquiries" from aviation and non-aviation businesses interested in Archerfield.
Among other awards made last night, Emerald Airport in QLD won Large Regional Airport of the Year for its major upgrade of existing infrastructure including Australia's first Stone Mastic Asphalt runway and Shellharbour Airport in the Illawarra Region of NSW won Small Regional (RPT) Airport of the Year for its $20 million investment program.
Orbost Airport in Victoria's East Gippsland region was named Small Regional (non-RPT) Airport of the Year for the critical role it played in the 2019-20 bushfire season, during which the area was devastated by fires. The airport provided a base for aerial firefighting operations.
AAA General Manager James Goodwin said the annual awards attracted 86 entries this year.
"Despite navigating the most difficult period the sector has faced in living memory, as resilient as ever Australia’s airports have taken the challenges in their stride and continued to adapt and innovate, finding new ways of doing things, forging ahead with major infrastructure projects, diversifying their businesses and developing new partnerships,” Goodwin said.
“Australia’s airport sector strives to make a difference and continues to develop infrastructure that enhances the passenger’s experience whilst making a valued contribution to our wider community.”
Corporate Project of the Year Small Regional Airport was awarded jointly to Avionics Airfield Lighting and Boral for the upgrade works at Norfolk Island, and Fulton Hogan won Corporate Project of the Year Large Regional Airport for the Hervey Bay Airport upgrade.
The full list of all awards is on the AAA website.