Gold Coast’s new $260 million terminal expansion opened to international passengers on Thursday morning.
The first flight to arrive was a Scoot 787-8, 9V-OFJ, which departed Singapore at 9:30pm on 8 November as flight TR6 and landed at 6:22am local time the next day.
The three-level project, which opened domestically in September, 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. New additions to open this week included border security and an expanded Heinemann duty-free store.
Already, Gold Coast operates international services via Scoot, Jetstar and Air New Zealand, with Virgin Australia flying to Bali from March next year.
Its services to Auckland and Singapore meanwhile open up connected flights to longer-haul destinations such as the UK, Europe, and USA.
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 earlier this year 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 and open-glazed facades in the forecourt and plaza area that it hopes will create a “relaxed Gold Coast vibe”.
Australian Aviation reported in October how the international recovery has stalled, with August passenger numbers stubbornly remaining 45 per cent down on pre-pandemic 2019.
The data mirrors a recent release from Melbourne Airport and appears to back up predictions from Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff that total travel volumes won’t surpass to 2019 levels until 2025.
“Airlines need time to restart — some countries are still closed or have restrictions — and we need to rebuild the confidence of passengers to get on flights again,” he said. “However, I am confident that we will see, from 2025 onwards, volumes that will exceed 2019 levels.
“International travel has also picked up at a slower pace than domestic travel. Currently, we’re back to around 50 per cent of pre-COVID levels.”