Planning works are underway on a taxiway extension at Canberra Airport to replace the current historical taxiway, which dates back to the 1940s.
The extension aims to provide more efficient and safer aircraft movements and to reduce the amount of time it takes planes to taxi at Canberra Airport.
Work has begun to identify existing underground infrastructure that could potentially be impacted by extending taxiway B, which currently only runs two-thirds of the length of the main runway.
Currently, after landing, planes must leave the runway and taxi on historic taxiway A, on the far side of the airfield. The planes are then required to cross the main runway to reach the terminal. This often requires waiting for other planes to land before they can cross.
When construction is complete, taxiway B will run the entire length of the main runway at Canberra Airport, closer to the terminal, eliminating the need for planes to wait and cross the runway to get to the terminal via taxiway A, which has been refurbished and resurfaced many times since it was built in the 1940s, soon after World War II.
Head of Aviation at Canberra Airport, Michael Thomson, said that planes continue to get bigger and passengers are increasingly time-poor and need more efficient travel.
“We believe every minute matters for passengers and this taxiway will save passengers time while creating more valuable national infrastructure for our capital city,” Mr Thomson said.
“In future, it can help us expand operations to include more freight carrying and wide-bodied planes, as well as further improving safe aircraft movement.”
Construction will begin in the next few weeks and will involve several local companies working on the project. Construction will last 12-18 months with a team of more than 80 workers.
Work will take place during the day and at times through the night after the last flights have landed. The cross runway will remain open 24 hours a day.
Visitors flying into the airport can already see the area marked with bright orange bollards, cones and silt fencing.
“Canberra Airport is recognised by the ACT and NSW Governments as a global gateway to our international city and the region,” Mr Thomson said.
“This will allow planes to vacate our runway more quickly and get visitors to our nation’s capital on their way.”