Construction begins on Canberra Airport upgrade

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Singapore
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Work has begun on a major upgrade of Canberra Airport serving Australia's capital city.

Construction work on a new terminal and car park began today. The A$350 million ($250 million) project had been delayed by funding issues.

Australian Capital Territory chief minister Jon Stanhope says in a statement that the Southern Concourse Terminal will increase the number of check-in counters to 44 from 17, triple the baggage capacity and quadruple the airline club lounge area.

Work on this first phase is due to be completed by the middle of next year, says Stanhope, adding that work on a second terminal is expected to start late next year.

Around three million passengers use the airport each year but Stanhope says this is expected to increase to 7.2 million by 2029.

Qantas Airways, which is the airport's main customer, says in a statement of its own: "Canberra has experienced strong domestic passenger growth for a number of years, which has necessitated these improvements to the airport's infrastructure. The terminal will provide a sustainable long-term solution to this traffic growth and it is exciting for us to see the new facility entering the construction phase."