Gold Coast Airport is embracing the ‘change is as good as a holiday’ mantra with a sweeping terminal upgrade that’ll include new eateries, a children’s playground and even an upmarket lounge bar – and it’ll be arriving sooner than you might think.
Rolling out in stages from now until the back half of 2024, the much-needed domestic refresh comes some 12 months on from the border-straddling airport’s ‘southern terminal’ expansion, which moved international operations into its own three-level building.
Of course, anyone who’s visited the airport recently will know the upgrade has been in the works for some time now (most notably in the food court and new gate queues), but an overarching vision for the increasingly-busy hub has only just been revealed.
It’s landing at the perfect time too, with the Gold Coast now welcoming five domestic carriers including Virgin Australia, Rex Airlines and Qantas, in addition to low-cost airline Bonza, which entered the mix earlier this month.
On top of a fresh look and feel for the departures hall – expanded seating, fresh signage and a vibrant colour palette to match its international counterpart are just a tease – the phased upgrade will see the addition of some 20 luxury retail outlets.
The first of these, Heinemann Duty Free, has already opened its doors. It’s one of just two domestic retail outlets for the group, alongside the recently-unveiled store at Sydney T2.
Queensland Airports Chief Operating Officer Marion Charlton said the relocation of international services provided “additional space and an opportunity to expand the offering within the domestic terminal.”
Charlton is of course speaking about the northern end of the terminal, which has felt a bit like a ghost town since international flights swung across to the new facility.
All international flights now depart from the three-level ‘southern building’, which features six gates, four glass aerobridges (these are occasionally used for domestic arrivals, as the terminals are linked) and a departure lounge facing the hinterland.
Phase one centres around premium retail as well as dining, with schnitzel eatery ‘Schnitz’, Two Tigers Sushi and The Sand Bar just a trio of the new venues raising their shutters.
And as for phase two, which begins “early next year”, that’s what will tie the whole airport together, introducing new seating, wayfinding and flight boards, and even a children’s play area. There’ll even be a kombi coffee van in the departure hall as a nod to the city’s surfing roots.
Both phases will be worked on simultaneously, with an expected completion before the end of 2024.
Although mostly good news for travellers, those hoping for a new Qantas Club or fresh Virgin Australia Lounge are out of luck, with Queensland Airports confirming both existing lounges will remain the sole options for frequent flyers.