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Brisbane Airport to create merged domestic–international terminal

written by Hannah Dowling | June 1, 2021

Brisbane Airport has solidified plans to permanently close its international terminal in favour of a new single terminal that will service all domestic and international passengers.

According to a report by The Brisbane Times, within the next decade, a new L-shaped terminal will be built parallel to the newly-opened runway, and connect to the existing domestic terminal.

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The $1 billion development is set to be built by 2032, at which point the transition away from the existing international terminal, built in 1995, will begin.

Brisbane Airport Corporation head of planning Michael Jarvis told the publication that the new terminal will be located “right in the middle” of the two runways, “facing out towards the bay”.

“It will be close to both runways and it can be integrated between domestic and international operations,” Jarvis said.

Plans to begin construction on the new integrated terminal could be expedited, should Brisbane be confirmed as the host of the 2032 Summer Olympic Games, Jarvis added.

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A Brisbane Airport Corporation spokesperson later said that Brisbane being officially chosen as the Games’ host would be “catalytic” for the project, and that the airport will work to have the new terminal constructed in time to welcome overseas guests.

Jarvis highlighted that an integrated domestic-international terminal is highly desirable for airlines, “particularly airlines based in Australia”, as it allows passengers to easily connect from domestic to international flights, without having to transit between terminals.

Currently, passengers connecting from a domestic to an international flight at Brisbane Airport must transit via Airtrain, taxi or shuttle buses.

While the transition away from operations at the current international terminal will begin once the new terminal is built, this will not necessarily mark the decisive end of the current international terminal, Jarvis noted.

“[The international terminal] has got a bit of life in it yet, so we will continue to use it while we have airlines progressively moving to the new northern terminal,” he said. “We would still be using it over a 10-year period [from 2032].”

Jarvis said the eventual repurposing of the international terminal would not be known for about 15 years.

He said that plans for a monorail system linking the expansive sections of the future Brisbane Airport also form as part of the greater plan for the terminal.

“The monorail would be about getting people between the car parks, the terminals, down here at the commercial and retail precinct here at Skygate,” he said.

“We have buses doing that at the moment and it would replace that when the [patronage] levels get high enough to need it.”

However, Jarvis noted that the addition of the monorail to the terminal would be dependent on increasing passenger demand at Brisbane.

“Once we get beyond that 50 million passengers-per-year level, and needing that new terminal in the northern area, we are going to be prioritising the areas first and foremost.

“Then how people get around the precinct and where the monorail would fit if it is needed.”

The airport also has its eyes set on futuristic means of public transportation, including air taxis, to quickly transport air travel passengers to and from Brisbane CBD, Ipswich, Logan, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine coast.

Jarvis noted technological solutions, including rotary eVTOL-esque aircraft, as being significant to the future growth of Brisbane Airport, once available.

“It is still an emerging technology, but we want to make sure that if it does happen in south-east Queensland that passengers in the future could hop into one of these and get to where they want to be.”

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