Gold Coast airport needs larger terminal to ease congestion: Chant

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Gold Coast airport needs to undergo a major terminal expansion within the next three to five years, to cater to the increasing passenger numbers brought in by low-cost carriers.

The airport terminal handled about 6 million passengers last year, and hit its capacity during peak hours, Queensland Airports managing director Dennis Chant said in an interview with Flightglobal Pro.

"We only expanded our terminal three years ago, but the international traffic has been growing at about 30% a year because of the LCCs," says Chant.

He adds that the airport is most congested during peak hours between 07:00 and 09:00 local time and at around 17:00 local time, but the terminal can handle up to 8 million passengers annually if it is utilised more evenly throughout the day.

"At peak hours we use all of our terminal and apron space, but we can expand outside the peak hours, which is what we're trying to do," says Chant.

The airport would also like carriers such as Scoot and AirAsia X, which fly to hubs such as Changi airport and Kuala Lumpur International Airport, to increase the number of services, so as to provide better connections to passengers. Both carriers now operate five weekly services to the Gold Coast, and the airport operator would like to see the frequencies go up to daily.

In 2010, a A$100 million ($103 million) 30,000m² (323,000ft²) redeveloped passenger terminal was opened at Gold Coast airport, about double the size of its previous terminal.

Gold Coast airport is the fifth busiest international airport in Australia. By 2031, it expects to handle 16.3 million passenger movements annually.