Touchdown: new Gold Coast international terminal now open

Coolangatta Airport is all grown up, with foreign arrivals now passing through the newly-finished terminal.

By Chris Ashton, November 10 2022
Touchdown: new Gold Coast international terminal now open

After lifting the lid on its long-awaited international terminal expansion back in August, Gold Coast Airport is officially welcoming its first overseas travellers through the new facility – complete with glass aerobridges and impressive hinterland views – from today.

Domestic flyers have been travelling through the terminal since September 8, while additional facilities including border control and an expanded Heinemann duty free store were still receiving the finishing touches. They’re now complete.

A bird's eye view of the new terminal expansion.
A bird's eye view of the new terminal expansion.

The Gold Coast Airport currently sees international flights with Scoot, Jetstar and Air New Zealand, while Virgin Australia will kick off its inaugural Bali services from March 2023.

There are hopes Air Asia X, once a regular fixture in pre-pandemic times, will return too.

As previously reported by Executive Traveller, it’s a huge improvement on the old ‘terminal’, which was tucked away at the northern end of the domestic and home to little more than a duty free store, cafe and newsagency.

Hinterland views are the star of the show.
Hinterland views are the star of the show.

Now split over three levels, the complex – dubbed the southern building – features six gates, four glass aerobridges (a first for the airport) and a departure lounge facing the hinterland. In the late afternoons, the sunset over the hills is an impressive sight.

Ten years in the making and three under construction, the $260 million terminal is part of a precinct-wide rejuvenation project, one doubling the capacity of the already-busy airport.

The departures lounge is light, bright and full of colour
The departures lounge is light, bright and full of colour

As a nod to its New South Wales-Queensland border location, the baggage claim area features a line marking the split between the states. It’s destined to be a popular photo-stop. 

A NSW-QLD border line slices through the terminal's baggage hall.
A NSW-QLD border line slices through the terminal's baggage hall.

Furnished in shades of green and bronze to echo its hinterland-side location, the departures lounge boasts an incredible view to the horizon, plus a wide mix of seating options, many of which have conveniently-placed power outlets. 

Charge up before you take off with conveniently placed power outlets in the departures lounge.
Charge up before you take off with conveniently placed power outlets in the departures lounge.

Elsewhere the airport takes its colour-cues from the coast with subtle blues and greens.

The soaring, 11-metre high transit area is also home to an impressive spotted gum feature wall, which mirrors the rise and fall of the nearby hinterland range. It’s just one of several design features which reference the local area.

Multilingual signage also includes approximate walking times.
Multilingual signage also includes approximate walking times.

A refresh of the existing terminal has also already begun, with a total of 18 new food and beverage and retail outlets rolling across domestic and international by mid 2023.

The new Heinemann Duty Free store is almost double the size of its predecessor.
The new Heinemann Duty Free store is almost double the size of its predecessor.

Although mostly good news for travellers, those hoping for a new Qantas Club or Virgin Australia Lounge are out of luck, with Queensland Airports confirming the existing lounges in the older domestic terminal will remain the sole options for frequent flyers.

Sparkly new terminal. Looks so nice. Pity that parking at OOL is at some third world standard at best. No spots, sorry - go and park in an unsecured area then walk 20 mins to check in. The more pax, the more tears there will be at Cooly sadly.

Joe
Joe

03 May 2013

Total posts 655

The old tin shed terminal is truly embarrassing and should be phase two of a new build. Lipstick on a pig never works and is very short sighted. The new terminal is indeed a sight for sore eyes but lacks an overhead departures road so congestion will remain picking and dropping off. I think the Gold Coast deserves an entire new terminal.

06 Sep 2019

Total posts 27

I took part in the operational trial yesterday and the new terminal is a massive step up compared to what the airport currently offers. I was surprised to find that it didn't have it's own bag drop and check in so you still need to go to the far north of the terminal for this and then venture back to the southern end via domestic security. Parking often costs more than the flights so I normally park in the onsite budget parking. From there, it's around 1.5km of walking by the time you get from your car to bag drop and back to the international departures. The existing Qantas and Virgin lounges are often quite overcrowded and the Qantas lounge is in the middle of the terminal with no windows so hopefully they can come up with a solution one day that takes advantage of the great hinterland views.

05 Apr 2012

Total posts 30

Yet for domestic flights we will still have to walk across the tarmac & board up the stairs! Nothing world class about that!

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 870

Coolangatta reminds me of the old old Brisbane Airport before they demolished the building and ripped up the runway.

I remember flying a PA-38 Tomahawk at the Gold Coast and the tower said to exist immediately on landing, I looked behind and there was a QF SP 747 coming up behind. 

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jun 2020

Total posts 6

What a disappointment a brand-new beautiful airport only designed for international use and the Gold Coast only gets a handful where domestic is overcrowded no air bridges guests to the Gold Coast are drenched when they arrive on a typical summers rain storm. What an under utilisation of Goldcoast tax payers money we’ve waited so long for a decent airport and this is what we get I agree it should be a whole new infrastructure for Australia’s most visited holiday location that’s wait another 15  years for that to happen .


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