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, departing Singapore as Flight TR6 at 21:30 on 8 November and landing at 06:22 local time the next day.
The three storey project, which opened inland in September, doubles the building’s capacity and offers ‘spectacular’ views of both the surrounding area and the north NSW hinterland.
In particular, it includes six new gates and space for up to 19 wide-bodied aircraft. New additions opening this week included Border Patrol and an expanded Heinemann Duty Free shop.
Gold Coast already operates international flights via Scoot, Jetstar and Air New Zealand, with Virgin Australia flying to Bali from March next year.
Its connections to Auckland and Singapore are now opening up connecting flights to long-haul destinations such as the UK, Europe and the US.
Designed by Hassell and built by Lendlease, the expansion includes a triple-height glass-walled departure lounge, four glass boarding bridges and space for 18 new food and retail outlets.
The development is part of a broader $500 million investment in the Gold Coast airport site since 2018, including the $260 million terminal, $86 million in airside works and other related infrastructure.
Gold Coast Airport chief executive Amelia Evans said earlier this year the new terminal will provide the space the airport needs to grow.
“We have welcomed several million tourists to our shores over the last ten years. During that time, the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales regions experienced massive growth, developing thriving restaurant scenes and becoming formidable centers for arts and culture,” said Evans.
“It is becoming increasingly important that Gold Coast Airport grows with it.”
Other features include wooden decking and open-glazed facades in the forecourt and plaza area, which it is hoped 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 below pre-pandemic 2019 levels.
The data reflects a recent release from Melbourne Airport and appears to support Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff’s predictions that total travel volume will not exceed 2019 levels before 2025.
“Airlines need time to restart – some countries are still closed or have restrictions – and we need to rebuild passenger confidence to get back on flights,” he said. “However, I am confident that from 2025 onwards we will see volumes exceeding 2019 levels.
“International travel has also grown at a slower rate than domestic travel. We are currently back to around 50 percent of pre-COVID levels.”