Little did Peter Dunn know back in 1998, when he had just been awarded a three-month contract with Gold Coast Airport, that this is where he would forge a successful long-term career and meet the love of his life.
Born and bred in Murwillumbah, Mr Dunn this week celebrates 20 years in the job, in the same week Gold Coast Airport’s privatisation (on 29 May 1998) is being recognised.
“I came on board as an electrical apprentice and after the airport was privatised, I was promoted to an Electrical Supervisor. I maintained this role for ten years. I then progressed to Manager of Asset Services and have been in this role since then,” he said.
“Over the years there has been a lot of opportunity to learn and grow, and as a result, I’ve been able to stay with the airport for my entire career.”
This year, Mr Dunn and his wife Joh have celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary.
Gold Coast Airport has evolved significantly since privatisation – now the country’s sixth busiest airport and facilitating 6.5 million passengers annually.
In the past 20 years, more than 500,000 aircraft and 80 million passengers have taken off from and landed at Gold Coast Airport, which was managed by Gold Coast Airport Limited from 1998 until 2003 when Queensland Airports Limited (QAL) took over management.
“Once the airport was privatised, the big changes started happening. Prior to this, minor upgrades occurred, but they were nothing compared to the size and the frequency of the upgrades that have taken place since then,” Mr Dunn said.
“Terminal redevelopments, runway overlays, and airfield lighting upgrades are just a few of the major projects I have worked on.”
Almost $300 million has been invested in the airport since it was privatised, with major projects including the runway overlay in 1999, the runway extension in 2007, and most recently, the extension of the apron and construction of the additional taxiway.
Mr Dunn attributed his long-term career at the airport to workplace diversity.
“There are many different departments involved in the daily operation of an airport – and there’s not too many workplaces where you get to work with all these people under one roof. It’s this diversity in
the workforce and the ever-evolving nature of the aviation industry which makes Gold Coast Airport such an exciting company to be a part of,” he said.
“I can personally vouch for how great the team at Gold Coast Airport are. I met my wife Joh here at the airport and we’ve been married 10 years this year.
“Joh worked in the finance and property teams during her time at the airport. I remember when we first started dating, we tried to keep it a secret and Joh would bring me lunch and hand it over to me in the fire escape. Fast forward a decade and we have two kids.
“Working at Gold Coast Airport has exceeded my career expectations. I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years have in store.”
Gold Coast Airport is continuing to change and evolve, and today there is a particular focus on progressing with the terminal redevelopment, Project LIFT, and the onsite hotel.
Gold Coast Airport Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said management and staff were firmly focused on the airport’s future.
“A series of projects designed to expand our capacity, improve our efficiency and enhance the passenger experience were delivered in the lead up to GC2018. This included the airside component of Project LIFT and our Taxiway Charlie project – which involved an $86 million investment,” she said.
“We are now focused on our expansion and particularly the terminal works. We plan to expand to the south and deliver a three-level terminal with provision for aerobridges.”
Gold Coast Airport staff will celebrate 20 years of the airport’s privatisation at a special airside event today.
Gold Coast Airport has been named the best regional airport Australia/Pacific at the Skytrax World Airport Awards twice – first in 2015 and then again last year.
QAL owns and operates Gold Coast, Townsville, Mount Isa and Longreach airports.