Runway Extension Feasibility Study

The Lord Howe Island (LHI) Airport Runway Extension Feasibility Study aims to analyse and evaluate the ‘feasibility’ of extending the runway.

Why do we need a runway extension?

Regular air services play a critical role in LHI’s tourism-based economy and are a crucial mode of transport for tourists and the local community to access the Island. LHI needs regular air services to support local tourism and provide residents access to essential services and amenities.

Currently LHI is serviced by QantasLink’s Bombardier DHC-8 200 aircraft which will continue until 2023. However, beyond this, QantasLink may not be economically or operationally able to provide services to LHI using the DHC-8 200 aircraft. The DHC-8 200 is QantasLink’s only aircraft that can currently service the Island and it is reaching the end of its expected 20 year lifespan.

LHI’s restricted runway length of 888 metres limits the type of commercial aircraft that can operate on the Island. While other options have been considered such as leasing or engaging other aircraft to operate on LHI or to get other airlines to operate; without extending the runway, airlines will be restricted in the types of aircraft that can service the Island. 

A sustainable and viable long-term solution is needed to secure the provision of air services to LHI. 

Feasibility Study

AECOM Australia Pty Ltd has been engaged to undertake a feasibility study to investigate if a runway extension is possible. 

The study will consider the technical, economic and environmental aspects of the extension, including:

  • determining the extension which could be built in line with safety regulations; physical obstacles that could impact landing and take-off; and width of the airfield
  • identifying aircraft able to land on the possible extension and airlines interested in providing this service
  • the engineering design of the extension
  • environmental and world heritage impact studies
  • the estimated construction cost of the extension
  • the economic benefits of the extension.

LHI has received $450,000 funding from the NSW Government’s Restart NSW – Regional Tourism Infrastructure Program to undertake this study.

Community Consultation

The initial report will be made available in a few months for public comment.

We will keep you informed throughout the year as we progress with the feasibility study.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Questions

Answers

Why do we need to do a runway extension feasibility study?

Regular air services play a critical role in our Island’s tourism-based economy and are a crucial mode of transport for tourists and the local community to access the Island. We need regular air services to support the Island’s local tourism and provide Islanders access to services and amenities.

Currently QantasLink’s Bombardier DHC-8 200 aircraft provides flights to the Island and will continue to do so until 2023. However, beyond this, QantasLink may not economically or operationally be able to do so. The DHC-8 200 is QantasLink’s only aircraft that can currently service the Island and it is reaching the end of its expected 20 year lifespan.

The current runway length of 888 metres limits the type of commercial aircraft that can viably operate at our airport. Without extending the runway, QantasLink and other airlines will be severely restricted by the types of aircraft that can provide air services to the Island. 

QantasLink has advised that to accommodate a larger aircraft, such as a DHC-8 300, the runway needs to be extended by up to 400 metres.

We need to start considering our options now for the provision of air services beyond 2023.

What is a feasibility study?

We are carrying out a study to analyse and evaluate the ‘feasibility’ of a runway extension. Can the runway be extended and if so, by how much?

The feasibility study will consider these questions and the technical, economic and environmental aspects of a possible runway extension, including:

  • determining the extension which could be built in line with safety regulations; physical obstacles that could impact landing and take-off; and width of the airfield
  • identifying aircraft able to land on the possible extension and airlines interested in providing this service
  • the engineering design of the extension
  • environmental and world heritage impact studies
  • the estimated construction cost of the extension
  • the economic benefits of the extension.

Who is carrying out the feasibility study?

Our lead consultants AECOM Australia Pty Ltd are working with Astral Aviation and Horton Coastal to carry out the feasibility study.

Together their experience includes runway extensions over water at Wellington Airport, remote island airports in the Solomon Islands, American Samoa, Chatham Islands and Maldives; and environmental work in world heritage sites such as the Great Barrier Reef. 

Who is going to pay for this?

The feasibility study is being funded by the NSW Government’s Restart NSW – Regional Tourism Infrastructure Funding Program to the value of $450,000.

What will be the impact to the environment?

If the runway extension was found to be a feasible option, there would be environmental and coastal impacts. We will carry out environmental assessments and put in place measures to protect the Marine Park; marine ecosystems; flora and fauna; and water quality.

What will be the impact to tourism and Island services?

If the runway extension was found to be a feasible option, it could expand services and tourism opportunities in the future.

Where other options considered?

Yes they were. Other options considered include:

  • Leasing or engaging other aircraft able to operate on the Island

A flight operator could lease DHC-8 200 aircraft from Qantas to operate on the Island. This would be a similar arrangement to that of Norfolk Island. However, within a limited period the DHC-8 200 aircraft would need to end its’ service life. Although this option would work in the short term, it would only delay the investigation and implementation of a long term solution needed for the Island.

  • Get other airlines

There are no other flight operators of the DHC-8 200 in Australia that could provide reliable services to the Island in place of QantasLink. This is coupled with the attractiveness of the Island’s route and the number of passengers it can carry. QantasLink has indicated that demand would need to remain at about current levels of 16,000 people per year or grow.

Extending the runway will have a big effect on the Island, why haven’t I been consulted?

The initial feasibility report on the runway extension is currently being drafted and will be publically available in a few months. When available, we will seek your comments.

We will also keep you informed throughout the year as we progress with the feasibility study.

We encourage you to regularly check the Board’s website as well as the Signal and Community Information Bulletin for updates on the feasibility study.

Where can I go to get more information?

For more information about the project, please call (02) 6563 2066 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm) or email administration@lhib.nsw.gov.au  

 

AECOM - Runway Extension Feasibility Study - Detailed Assessment of Extended Runway Requirements and Suitable Aircraft PDF 33.4 MB

Further information

For more information:

Call: (02) 6563 2066 (Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm)

Email: administration@lhib.nsw.gov.au

Download: Lord Howe Island Airport Runway Extension Feasibility Study - Fact Sheet PDF 226 KB