New $18.63 million hangar to be constructed at the Sunshine Coast Airport

Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick MP has visited the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue Sunshine Coast base to announce a new $18.63 million 3-bay hangar to be constructed within the Aerospace Precinct at the Sunshine Coast Airport.

The purpose-built base will have the capacity to house two RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopters and a Challenger 604 Air Ambulance jet to cope with the increasing demands of the Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay, South Burnett and Burnett regions and help future-proof LifeFlight’s aeromedical services.   

The hangar will include crew accommodation and other improved facilities to make our 24-hour response more efficient, larger engineering areas, direct ambulance access to the hangar and a Visitor Centre to allow for more engagement between LifeFlight and the local community.

“This is an organisation that was born on the Sunshine Coast and now it remains a very deeply embedded part of the Sunshine Coast. I am so proud in the budget this year we have provided ongoing funding to support the critical work of LifeFlight flying across Queensland,” said Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2024 and is expected to take 11 months. The current Roy & Nola Thompson LifeFlight Hangar will be used during construction and relocation, and then retained by LifeFlight and used to continue to support our operations. 

“This announcement is welcome news for LifeFlight and the communities we serve every day and we thank the Palaszczuk Government for this commitment,” said LifeFlight Australia Chair Honourable Jim Elder.

“$18 million is a significant sum for a profit-for-purpose organisation such as ours, which often relies on grants from multiple sources, sponsorship and community fundraising to realise large projects which directly assist us in coming to the aid of Queenslanders.” 

The funding is in addition to $586 million for a 10-year service agreement with Queensland Health to ensure the provision of lifesaving aeromedical services.

“We are fortunate to have a world-class dedicated, agile and reliable helicopter rescue service for seriously ill and injured Queenslanders,” said Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick.


Animated fly through of the new LifeFlight Sunshine Coast base plans.

The record funding arrangement gives certainty to Queenslanders that for the next decade, the vital search, rescue and aeromedical services provided by LifeFlight will continue to operate, bringing equity of health care to people across the state, from its multiple bases.

LifeFlight is deeply connected to the broad region serviced out of our Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg bases.

The roots of the entire service can be traced back to 1979, when the rescue chopper fired up for its first mission from a base at the Big Cow on the Bruce Highway.

Next month marks 10 years since the organisation and the Sunshine Coast Helicopter Rescue Service merged. 

“Many of the pioneers of the original Sunshine Coast service, who remain actively engaged and interested in the service today including former Sunshine Coast Rescue Helicopter Service CEO, Mr Jim Campbell who along with Hayden Kenny OAM, Rod Forrester, Bill Freeman and Roy Thompson AC are Life Members of LifeFlight Australia, and we acknowledge the decades of dedicated service to their communities and to this service,” said Mr van de Velde.

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AW139 (left) and Bell412 (right) RACQ LifeFlight Rescue service helicopters on the Sunshine Coast.

Ashley van de Velde also highlighted the work of two other Life Members – the late Des Scanlan who established the original Sunshine Coast Helicopter Service and the late Don Moffatt AM who up until recently remained a driving force in the region.  

Hon Jim Elder singled out Life Member and long-term philanthropic supporter of the service, Mr Roy Thompson by confirming that the Roy & Nola Thompson LifeFlight Hangar housing our current operations would be retained by the service.

“So many generous donors, our Regional Vice Patron, Mrs Joceyln Walker, our Regional Advisory Committee led by Mr Brendon Murray and local businesses worked together a couple of years ago to make our current base more modern and efficient. The renovated Roy & Nola Thompson Hangar will absolutely continue to support the sustainability of our operations well into the future,” said LifeFlight Chairman Hon Jim Elder.


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Hayden Kenny OAM (left), Regional Vice Patron Mrs Jocelyn Walker (centre), and Jim Campbell (right).


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