Shane was able to have a closer look at Gladstone's main Runway 10/28 which has recently undergone an extensive makeover designed to allow bigger jet aircraft such as Boeing B737 and Airbus A320 aircraft to land at Gladstone.
The upgrade included removing a noticeable 'hump' from the centre of the runway and improving water and storm drainage. The runway was also lengthened, widened, and strengthened, and is now capable of handling jet aircraft with it 1960m length and 45m width.
There still remains a smaller 'hump' in the centre of the runway as there are boulders the size of small houses underneath. The cost to remove these would have been to great.
In parts of the runway that was overhauled, grooves were added. While they don't cover the entire length of the runway, the grooves that were added were designed to improve drainage of water off the runway, but they also improve aircraft braking performance as well.
Off the runway, Gladstone Airports taxiways were also overhauled and redesigned as well.
The 'hump' in the runway also extended to the parallel taxiway however it obscured vision particularly of small light aircraft at each end of the taxiway.
The taxiway also used to run the full length of the runway, however with the runway lengthened, the decision was made not to lengthen the taxiway and so it now runs about two-thirds of the length of the runway.
A recent change in operating practices has now seen QantasLink shift it's operations to the lower apron of the Gladstone Airport terminal. Consequently, Virgin Australia operate their Skywest Airlines-operated ATR 72-500 aircraft now from the upper level apron.
The decision was made due to concerns over safety of the ATR passengers and the fact they use the rear of the aircraft to board and deplane.
Inside the actual terminal building, as mentioned on the Blog previously, QantasLink has recently opened a Regional Qantas Club Lounge. Other planned improvements include the addition of a second food and drink kiosk, as well the possibility of the opening of a newsagent.