THOUSANDS of aviation buffs and curious locals are expected to stroll down a plane-free runway on Saturday when Sunshine Coast Airport celebrates its 50th birthday.
The main runway will be closed to all air traffic between 6.30am and 9.30am and open to visitors to walk the runway, the first time this has been allowed in 50 years, and possibly the last.
Airport general manager Peter Pallot admitted it was a “logistical challenge” to cater for the expected thousand people who will take to the runway on Saturday.
“In this day and age of high security at airports, it’s taken a lot of preparation to make this happen,” he said.
“This is an unprecedented event to allow the public on to the runway, providing people with access to areas normally only available to authorised airport staff.”
Visitors on the day should come to the airport along Airport Dr and follow the signs to free parking.
After parking, walk to the terminal building and enter through gate four before the 6.50am compulsory safety briefing.
Prizes have been offered by airline event partner Jetstar, including four return flights from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney.
The Sunshine Coast Airport was opened in August 1961, and was first officially known as the Maroochy Airport.
It began as a muddy strip and a vision of things to come in the mind of then shire chairman David Low.
Today the airport employs more than 600 people and contributes almost $500 million to the region’s annual economy.
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