Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gladstone Airport Information and Spotting Locations - UPDATED!

Gladstone is a rapidly growing industrial city on the Central Queensland coast. The airport caters primarily for business and leisure travellers and freight activities associated with the region's developed and emerging industrial complexes. The Airport is located approximately 5km from the city centre and is well catered for by taxi and charter bus services.

Regular public transport (RPT) services are currently provided by QantasLink - operated by Sunstate Airlines and Cobham Aviation - and Virgin Australia Airlines - via Virgin Australia Regional Airlines (VARA).

There are around 40 QantasLink flights into Gladstone each week with a mix of Cobham Aviation Boeing B717-200 and Sunstate Airlines Dash-8 turbo-prop operated services from Brisbane and Sydney on both scheduled RPT and Fly-in Fly-out (FIFO) flights.

There is also the 1-2 daily Dash-8 service along the Queensland coast connecting from Brisbane to Cairns via Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville and Cairns.

Virgin Australia operates around 20 scheduled RPT services into Gladstone each week from Brisbane with ATR 72 turbo-prop aircraft which are operated by VARA.  Some services have also been known to be operated by larger Virgin E-190 and B737 jets as well.

Gladstone also currently sees a regular FIFO charter flight currently operated by Our Airline (Air Nauru) with the occasional Alliance Airlines Fokker F-100 replacing the Our Airline Boeing B737 on the charter run.

Gladstone Helicopters / Helireef and Air Charter CQ / Australia by Seaplane also both operate from Gladstone Airport flying passengers to the nearby Heron Island, as well as marine pilots and sailors to ships either moored or sailing off the coast.

Helireef has its hangar on the Northern side of Gladstone Airport, alongside local aircraft maintenance provider Aerotor.  There are usually helicopters parked on the nearby aprons, along with various light aircraft which are often parked on this Northern side.  

Plane spotting and photography is possible on this Northern side of Gladstone Airport, with the morning being the best time around this side for photos.  

Back on the Southern side, the Gladstone Airport terminal underwent major expansion in 2011, along with some associated runway and taxiway works.  The Airport terminal was extensively overhauled with a new departure lounge and seating added, as well as the introduction of passenger security screening facilities.  A 'Coffee Club' restaurant has also opened in this section.

The Gladstone Airport Terminal is also effectively in two sections with the upper section featuring the check-in counters, car rental service desks, some general seating including a kiosk/bar, as well as the baggage collection carousel.

There are good views from the terminal over the entire Airport parking apron, and further to the main Runway 10/28 - although these are through glass.

Outside the terminal and to the East, the Long-term parking lot has great views over this end of the Airport parking apron.  Local plane spotters have been known to frequent this area to capture some great photos - particularly during the morning - but also capture some atmospheric night photos of visiting aircraft staying overnight.

Venturing back past the terminal and continuing further West, spotters will head towards the General Aviation (GA) Area where the local Careflight Rescue Helicopter is based.  There are great views through the fence over the often very busy GA Apron containing local aircraft along with numerous visiting aircraft calling in to the industrial city.

Continuing further Westward, Aerodrome Road winds its way up a hill, past some locally owned aircraft hangars, and the raised aspect of this part overlooking Gladstone Airport allows spotters to capture some great images of aircraft on the close Taxiway and further to the Runway.  

Relatively unobstructed views over the Airport parking apron can also be had in this area.

Please be advised that there are some parking restrictions around local streets and in parts of the Airport complex.

I find Gladstone is a pretty easy place to capture most aircraft movements.

File photos taken by Michael Fleetwood and Jamie & Tash  ©

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