From the Newsroom

Ballina airport’s $20m upgrade

Rodney Stevens


Clarence Valley residents flying into or departing Ballina Byron Gateway Airport will experience levels of comfort and safety following a $20.68 million upgrade designed to support growth for local tourism and businesses, plus provide career opportunities for locals.

The upgrades saw the existing runway surface overlayed, the visual approach slope indicator system replaced, and runway edge lighting improved by installing energy efficient LED lights.

Work on the airport, included the design and construction of an 80mm overlay of the runway with full width grooving, installation and repair of landscaping, and line marking on the runway and taxiway.

Runway edge lights and bases were installed, along with a pit and duct runway lighting cable system, and a precision approach path indicator.

Ballina Shire Mayor Sharon Cadwallader said the federal government contributed $5.5 million for the project with council funding almost $15 million.

“An investment in the airport, is an investment in our community and its economy,” she said. 

“The runway upgrade will ensure the community have continued reliable and safe air services into the future for local tourism and business, while also providing aviation jobs and career opportunities for local residents.” 

Ballina Byron Gateway Airport Manager Julie Stewart said the upgrades will help the airport cater with increasing passenger numbers.

“Each year, our busy regional airport supports around 635,000 commercial passengers – this is expected to increase to over 900,000 by 2040,” she said. 

“Strengthening this important piece of airport infrastructure will extend the runway’s lifespan by up to 10 years.

“Our airport is a key gateway for visitors to the beautiful Northern River Region, but the airport is also essential to support emergency service aircraft during regional disasters.” 

Emergency aircraft that were used across the region during the 2022 floods and bushfire response in 2019 will also benefit from the runway upgrades as they continue to assist the region.

Federal Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot said. “This Ballina Airport upgrade has supported 186 jobs during construction and has now created 74 ongoing jobs to support the local economy.