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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
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.