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Inside Cairns Airport’s international terminal redevelopment (with pics)

Cairns Airport is buzzing with a $55 million international terminal upgrade - and we have a sneak peek at its progression.

Cairns Airport is buzzing with a $55 million international terminal upgrade – and we have a sneak peek at its progression.

As part of the enhancements, new, larger baggage belts are on the way to streamline arrivals, ending the need to split luggage across multiple carousels. 

The baggage collection area is also being expanded to improve passenger traffic flow.

Rendering of the future baggage reclaim expansion.
Rendering of the future baggage reclaim expansion.
Departures Lounge - Central Dwell
Rendering of the future Departures Lounge.

The upgrades come amid a flurry of new flight announcements for the Far North Queensland hub.

Last week, Cathay Pacific announced it will resume flights between Hong Kong and Cairns, marking a significant step towards pre-COVID international travel levels for the airport. 

Jetstar also recently unveiled new non-stop flights from Cairns to Christchurch, a debut for this route.

In addition, AirAsia Indonesia revealed in June that it will operate a three-times-weekly service between Cairns and Bali’s Denpasar Airport.

Rendering of the future
Cairns Airport rendering.
CA T1 International Upgrade 31
The new lounge.

Earlier this year, the international passenger lounge reopened, following a $1 million facelift, coinciding with the return of Singapore Airlines’ A350 services.

Cairns Airport says upgrades in the departures lounge are also coming. 

The entire project is set for completion by the end of 2025, marking the terminal’s first major update in 30 years.

Cairns Airport CEO Richard Barker said the upgrades are aimed at “simplifying and expediting the arrivals process for passengers”.

CAirns Airport
Cairns Airport check-in.
CAirns Airport
Lots of natural light.

“Our international services continue to grow and we are doing the work to enhance our infrastructure in step with these developments,” he remarked.

“The first stage of work is already complete, which produced a total transformation of our check-in and arrivals halls, including new elevators and escalators, upgraded bathrooms and parent rooms, modern furniture, fresh tiled floors and replacement of all check-in counters.

“We have also installed four new airconditioned glass airbridges, which offer travellers a panoramic view of our mountains and waterways as soon as they land. The tropical welcome continues inside, with a range of native and local plants selected to complement the upgrade.”

CAirns Airport
Cairns Airport
Cairns Airport’s new airbridges.

Showcasing the local environment and culture of Tropical North Queensland is also a priority for the hub.

“One of the highlights in the departures lounge will be a handcrafted wooden canoe suspended from the ceiling, flanked by mirrors to provide an eye-catching effect,” Barker said. 

“This piece was crafted by Torres Strait Island man Toby Cedar and purchased by Cairns Airport at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.

“We believe the installation will become a recognisable and favoured feature of the terminal for our arriving international guests.”