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Plane spotters pretend to be passengers for Gold Coast Airport trial

written by Adam Thorn | August 30, 2022

Ben Foster-Brown, Christina Vincenzi and Evie Smith experienced a trial run at the new Gold Coast Airport terminal. (Luke Marsden)

Gold Coast plane spotters were among 500 people selected to pretend to be passengers in a trial of the city’s new terminal expansion.

The group, which also included TAFE students and airport ambassadors, undertook “operational scenarios” ahead of its formal opening for domestic services next week.

The three-level, $260 million project will double the building’s capacity and offer “spectacular” views of both the surrounding area as well the northern NSW hinterland.

It comes as domestic and international passenger numbers are expected to grow from about 6.5 million pre-COVID-19 to more than 10 million with the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games. The city’s population is also expected to double to 1.2 million by 2050.

Queensland Airports COO Marion Charlton said, “A series of desktop trials, inductions and familiarisation activities were staged in the weeks leading up to today’s mass trial for the terminal expansion, including familiarisations with key stakeholders like emergency services and terminal partners.


“We will be taking any learnings from the mass trial and using them to improve our processes prior to, and during, the early stages of opening.”

The expansion, designed by Hassell and built by Lendlease, will include a triple-height glass-walled departure hall, four glass aerobridges, and space for 18 new food and retail outlets.

The development is part of a wider $500 million of investment in the Gold Coast Airport precinct since 2018, including the $260 million terminal, $86 million in airside works, and other associated infrastructure.

Australian Aviation reported in June how passenger traffic on the Canberra to Gold Coast route has almost doubled since before COVID, according to a new report by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

It said Gold Coast to Melbourne flights and Adelaide to Sydney flights also surpassed 2019 levels.

Gold Coast Airport also became Australia’s first major airport to fully recover from COVID-19, with passenger and flight numbers beating pre-pandemic records.

The facility welcomed and bid farewell to almost 25,000 people on Easter Monday — a new monthly record — and close to the all-time high of 25,455 passengers on 4 January 2020.

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