Darwin airport aims to expand terminal by 55%

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Australia's Darwin International airport plans to expand its terminal area by around 55% as part of its redevelopment project to cater to growing passenger numbers.

The new floor area will be around 25,500 square metres, an increase of 9,500 square metres, by increasing the size of the existing terminal. This is a slight change from an earlier plan to increase the floor area by 65% by adding a third floor to the terminal, said the airport.

The revision to the expansion plan will provide more check-in desks and boarding gates, ease transfers between domestic and international flights, and provide more space for airline lounges. It will also allow for better passenger transition through check-in and security screening, said the airport.

The airport, which is the main gateway to northern Australia, is projected to handle 2.9 million passengers by 2016 and four million by 2030, up from 1.5 million in 2009. Its main operators are Qantas Airways and its low-cost subsidiary Jetstar, Virgin Australia and a number of regional carriers.

The redevelopment also envisages the progressive upgrade of taxiways and general aviation facilities, and improving road access to the airport.

The amendment has been approved by Anthony Albanese, Australia's infrastructure and transport minister, who said the airport is a "key economic driver" for the region.

"The terminal expansion will provide opportunities for growth on new and existing routes, including services to regional and remote communities," he said in a statement.

"The current design is geared to the low-cost carrier model and will allow for the continued growth of the Jetstar hub as well as flexibility to accommodate new airline operators in the future."