Cairns Airport begins international terminal transformation to create “a contemporary space” for passengers

Cairns Airport is to begin the transformation of its international terminal. It is described as an opportunity to “revolutionise the terminal” and create “a contemporary space” for passengers.

Contractors are poised to start work on a multi-million-dollar overhaul of Cairns Airport’s international terminal – the first major upgrade of the building since it opened more than 30 years ago.

Work will commence in March, starting with the removal of the terminal’s distinctive blue carpet, which will be replaced with modern tiles.

“The carpet has certainly been a talking point over the years and while it has served us well, it’s time for something new and fresh,” said Richard Barker, Chief Executive Officer, Cairns Airport. “The terminal will be transformed into a contemporary space that reflects the dynamic atmosphere of our region, from the moment visitors arrive. It will be a space that locals can be proud of, using materials, imagery and design elements that showcase our unique environment and cultural values.”

The first stage of the redevelopment will involve a complete refurbishment of the check-in and arrivals areas, including new escalators, elevators, bathrooms, fresh paint, artworks and furnishings. The external façade of the terminal will also be re-cladded.

Four new, state-of-the art glass airbridges will be installed, giving passengers a panoramic view of the mountains and waterways as soon as they land.

The first raft of upgrades is expected to take about 14 months to complete. The second stage will focus on enhancing passengers’ arrival experience, with new baggage reclaim belts and an expanded area to increase capacity. The departures area will be overhauled during the third phase, with a new layout and seating spaces. Overall, $40-$50 million will be invested in the upgrade.

“Lighting, materials, furnishing and greenery have been selected to reflect each of Far North Queensland’s rich landscapes in different areas of the terminal, from the rainforest to the reef, coast and mangroves,” said Barker. “Wherever possible, we will use locally-sourced materials, including timbers, stone and furniture, and engage local artists and designers. We are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels; however, our international connections continue to grow, most recently with the addition of the Virgin Australia flights from Tokyo. It is an opportunity to revolutionise the terminal in preparation for increasing passenger levels, while also maximising progress as we gradually return to business as usual.”



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