Gold Coast’s new $260 million terminal expansion opened on Thursday morning to domestic passengers.
The phased introduction will continue until 11 September before it welcomes international travellers on 13 October.
The three-level, $260 million project doubles the building’s capacity and offers “spectacular” views of both the surrounding area as well the northern NSW hinterland. It specifically includes six new gates and room for up to 19 wide-body aircraft.
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.
The expansion, designed by Hassell and built by Lendlease, includes 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.
Gold Coast Airport chief executive Amelia Evans said the new terminal would provide the space the airport needs to grow.
“We have welcomed several million tourists to our shores over the past decade. In that time, the Gold Coast and northern New South Wales regions have enjoyed massive growth, developed thriving dining scenes and become impressive hubs for both arts and culture,” said Evans.
“It has become increasingly important that the Gold Coast Airport grows alongside it.”
Other features include timber decking, above, and open-glazed facades in the forecourt and plaza area that it hopes will create a “relaxed Gold Coast vibe”.
It comes as domestic aviation faces a tricky post-COVID-19 bounceback. Australian Aviation reported this week how airlines are significantly reducing capacity to mitigate the delays and cancellations caused by staff shortages and sickness.
The ACCC’s latest quarterly report on the industry revealed the cut in seats for sale during the last few months came despite the local industry hitting 97 per cent of pre-COVID-19 passenger numbers in June.
“The domestic airline industry carried 4.7 million passengers in July 2022, marking a new high since the pandemic first impacted the industry in early 2020,” said the competition watchdog.
“July 2022 was the fourth consecutive month with more than 4 million passengers flying, representing notable stability for an industry that has endured regular interruptions in recent years.
“Despite the high number of passengers, the July 2022 figure only represented 89 per cent of the number of passengers who flew at that time of year in 2019, prior to the pandemic.
“This was the same as the recovery levels reached in April 2022, but below the recent high in June 2022, which saw passenger numbers reach 97 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels.”