The Cocos (Keeling) Islands will soon benefit from an upgrade and refurbishment of the airport’s runway, which is the main access and delivery point for supplies and visitors to the islands.
ADM first reported plans to upgrade the islands' runway in April last year following an industry information session in Perth.
“The upgrade will not include new buildings or shelters,” a spokesperson said at the time. “The length of the runway will remain at 2,441 metres. The shoulder will increase from 3.5 to 7.5 metres.”
Defence also said that no P8-A support personnel would be permanently based at the airport, but did not mention staff for other aircraft (such as the M-55A Peregrine EW planes).
“The existing supporting infrastructure at the airport is currently sufficient to support P-8A Poseidon operations,” the spokesperson said. “There will not be any P-8A Poseidon aircraft permanently based at Cocos Island, therefore there is no requirement to base P-8A Poseidon support staff there permanently.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price announced Fulton Hogan would shortly commence design and development of the $184 million project.
“The project will provide benefits to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands economy by prioritising local suppliers and creating employment opportunities throughout the works,” Minister Price said.
“The project will strengthen and widen the existing runway and hardstands, and provide a new Aeronautical Ground Lighting to support the P-8A Poseidon Maritime Surveillance and Response aircraft, and other aircraft operations.
“P-8A Poseidon capability will enhance Australia’s maritime domain awareness of the Indian Ocean region and Southern Asia, and enhance operational access to the region.”
Subject to Government and Parliamentary approval, construction is expected to commence in mid-2021 and be completed by mid-2023.