A CORPORATE restructure of Newcastle Airport will allow it to borrow money for an expansion without dipping into council funds.
Councillors from Newcastle and Port Stephens made the decision at their respective council meetings last week.
The two councils jointly own the airport and see it as a potential moneymaker in years to come.
The refinancing will allow the airport to immediately repay about $12 million it owes to the Newcastle and Port Stephens councils.
A restructure will also open the door for the two councils to sell up to a combined 49 per cent of the airport to the private sector.
The airport will be able to self-fund its component of a planned terminal expansion, which will be coupled with a $11.1-million grant from the state government's Hunter Infrastructure Fund.
The airport plans to expand the existing terminal and install facilities such as customs, quarantine and immigration, paving the way for international flights.
The expansion would mean the airport could cater for the A330 Airbus and Boeing 787 for international flights, and potentially fly to Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji, Bali and Thailand.
Jetstar and Virgin Australia have already expressed interest in charting international flights from Newcastle.