The doors will open on a 30,000sqm expansion of the Gold Coast Airport terminal later this year as part of a $500 million investment in the precinct. The three-level project doubles capacity at the terminal, with combined domestic and international passenger numbers expected to grow from about 6.5 million pre-COVID-19 to more than 10 million by the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Queensland Airports Limited Chief Executive Officer Amelia Evans said the expansion was the centrepiece of about $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. “This is a game-changer for Gold Coast Airport and the region,” she said. “We’ve more than doubled our capacity to enable continued efficient passenger flows as our visitor numbers grow. The expansion also allows us to service new domestic and international routes, making it easier to travel to and from the Gold Coast and northern NSW.”
The expansion, designed by Hassell and built by Lendlease, includes a triple-height glass-walled departure hall offering views of the Gold Coast and northern NSW hinterland. Maximising and maintaining efficient passenger movement was a strong focus in the terminal’s design. Included in the three-level expansion is four glass aerobridges, additional retail space, new boarding facilities, a departure lounge, baggage handling and border control areas.
Evans said the company had remained committed to the expansion, despite the significant impact of COVID-19 disruptions during the construction period. “Even when the pandemic and restrictions to stop its spread forced us to close for 45 days in 2020, we proceeded with this development to ensure we were ready to facilitate the demand in travel when recovery came,” she said. “In April, we achieved a post-pandemic record of more than half a million people traveling through the terminal, reinforcing the decision to proceed. All our domestic routes have been restored and our international connections are returning. We continue to work together with our airline partners to reinstate services, so business and leisure travellers can take advantage of our new and improved facilities.”
Gold Coast Airport’s retail and food and beverage offering is being transformed as part of the terminal expansion project and a refresh of the existing terminal space. In total, there will be 18 new food and beverage and retail outlets between the new and existing terminal areas by the middle of next year. The development highlights confidence in Gold Coast Airport’s continued post-COVID-19 growth trajectory. The city’s population is expected to double to 1.2 million by 2050. During 2021 the Gold Coast was the most popular destination for interstate migration, attracting the largest single share (11 percent) of all people who moved from capital cities to regional areas.
Likewise, travel is back. The most recent domestic aviation figures available showed the Gold Coast-Sydney connection jumped almost 230 per cent in the year to March, carrying 999,000 passengers. Gold Coast-Melbourne was just behind, with 975,300 passengers carried, an increase of 169 percent. The project facilitated $50 million in contracts to 11 local businesses, and delivered 2000 jobs in three years. The terminal expansion followed an $86 million investment in airside works in 2018, enabling eight extra Code C aircraft such as Boeing 717s or Airbus 320s on the apron. This took capacity to 19. Discussions are ongoing with various international airlines to increase services to the region and the new Virgin Australia Gold Coast-Bali service starts in March 2023.