First look: inside Gold Coast Airport’s new international terminal

Coolangatta Airport is all grown up, with its new border-straddling terminal primed to open next month.

By Chris Ashton, August 29 2022
First look: inside Gold Coast Airport’s new international terminal
Executive Traveller exclusive

Travellers jetting to the Gold Coast Airport will soon enjoy a fresh new experience – complete with glass aerobridges and dazzling sunset views – as the long-awaited international terminal expansion finally welcomes first passengers from September 8.

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

Domestic flyers will be the first to utilise the facility, ahead of overseas arrivals from October 13.

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

Executive Traveller was invited for a sneak peek and we’re pleased to report 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 striking new complex – dubbed the southern building – features six gates, four glass aerobridges (a first for the airport) and a departure lounge facing the hinterland, in addition to new boarding facilities, baggage handling and border control.

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.

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. 

The Baggage Hall features a subtle blue colour palette, in reference to the coastal location.
The Baggage Hall features a subtle blue colour palette, in reference to the coastal location.

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.

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.

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. 

Queensland Airports confirms the existing Qantas and Virgin Australia lounges will remain in place, servicing both international and domestic passengers. Given the absence of overseas flights for both Qantas and Virgin Australia, at least for now, that’s not overly surprising. 

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

“This is the centrepiece in a $500 million investment in our Gold Coast Airport precinct,” explains Queensland Airports Limited CEO Amelia Evans.

The first taste of the transformation project was the debut of Rydges Gold Coast Airport Hotel in November 2020, located directly across the road from the new terminal.

Rydges Gold Coast Airport is home to a fantastic rooftop bar: The Salty Fox.
Rydges Gold Coast Airport is home to a fantastic rooftop bar: The Salty Fox.

“Since then, we’ve done a lot of work in the airport terminal, including our airside processing zone, which helps ease congestion as you’re boarding the aircraft, and also the transport interchange,” adds Evans.

“But this $260 million building is what will make the difference. To the city of Gold Coast, to the tourism industry, to our passengers, to our team.”

Multiple dining options will be added, including Mediterranean, Japanese and Mexican.
Multiple dining options will be added, including Mediterranean, Japanese and Mexican.

The new terminal will allow the Gold Coast Airport to cater to 19 aircraft at any one time.

While construction throughout the pandemic was not without its challenges, Evans says the finished product arrives at just the right time, with the industry continuing to rebound and the airport setting record passenger figures – above pre-Covid levels – in the month of June.

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

From October 2022, those jetting into the Gold Coast from New Zealand, Singapore and Japan will arrive via the 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.

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 657

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 26

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 28

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


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