Newly announced runway upgrades at Newcastle Airport are expected to allow some of the largest passenger jets in and out of the Hunter region within two years.

But airport executives say a further $55 million renovation to the passenger terminal is key to unlocking the airport’s potential.

Newcastle Airport CEO Dr Peter Cock says the upgrades will coincide with the influx of passengers so its necessary to have a terminal to accommodate.

“The upgrades will facilitate inbound and outbound international travelers,” he said, “so it really is an exciting era for the region.”

“We think there’s a number of hub airports which will be logical places to start flying particularly Singapore,” Dr Cock said.

The upgrades mean residents in regional NSW could travel overseas from Newcastle within two years without having to go via Sydney.

Dr Cock says, “it gives a real boost to inbound tourism and it also gets people from the Hunter to where they want to go internationally.”

The runway upgrades also mean businesses in the Hunter can import and export on an international scale.

Dr Cock says the work will allow freight directly into the region.

“It creates an opportunity to create new business capitalising on the strength of our advanced manufacturing in smart technology and defence” he said.

Dr Cock explained, “our modelling has shown that’s over $12 billion in new economic activity for the region.”

The airport is currently working with the NSW to co-fund the terminal upgrades.