Day, Date Month 2003
LEASE EXTENDED FOR NEWCASTLE AIRPORT
Defence has extended the existing lease with Newcastle Airport Limited to operate civil aviation activities from Royal Australian Air Force Base Williamtown for a further 40 years until 2045, Defence Minister Robert Hill and the Federal Member for Paterson, Bob Baldwin, announced today.
The initial lease with Newcastle Airport Limited was signed in 1994 for a period of 30 years.
Senator Hill said Newcastle Airport was recognised as a major regional airport serving a catchment area of approximately 1 million people, including Australia’s sixth largest city and the Hunter/Port Stephens area.
"The extended lease term to Newcastle Airport Limited will provide greater certainty to continued operations and support investment in commercial development. An example of this is the support provided by BAE Systems to the RAAF Lead-in Fighter project," Senator Hill said.
The lease area, which is within RAAF Base Williamtown, has been structured to enable civil aviation activities to be conducted from an operational airbase that is critical to Defence operation of fast jets.
RAAF Williamtown is home to approximately 2500 personnel and is where Headquarters Air Combat Group and Headquarters Surveillance and Response Group are based.
F/A-18 Hornet fighter aircraft, Hawk Lead in Fighter Training aircraft, PC-9 Aircraft and the AN/TPS-43 Radar are currently based at RAAF Williamtown. Airborne Early Warning and Control aircraft are due to be based at RAAF Williamtown from late 2006.
Mr Baldwin said the importance of the lease agreement with Newcastle Airport Limited to the region has increased significantly following the closure earlier this year of Belmont Airport.
The greater certainty now provided by the extended lease term will see Newcastle Airport continue to grow, providing jobs and economic growth for the region.
"This lease gives greater certainty to Newcastle Airport and industry already based at the airport, as well as certainty for future investors looking at setting up business in the airport zone," Mr Baldwin said.