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Brisbane Airport's $5 billion transformation: What you need to know

With upgrades to its Domestic and International Terminals and a vision for Terminal 3, Brisbane Airport is gearing up for the future. But how will construction impact travellers?

With upgrades to its Domestic and International Terminals and a vision for Terminal 3, Brisbane Airport is gearing up for the future. But how will construction impact travellers?

Beginning this week, Brisbane Airport is about to undergo its most significant transformation yet, as the $5+ billion Future BNE initiative kicks off. This ambitious program encompasses over 150 projects aimed at enhancing the airport experience and preparing for the anticipated growth in Queensland’s population in the coming years.

The goal is to be fully prepared for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

But all this means that passengers travelling through Brisbane Airport during the construction period will be impacted. 

“We will look after travellers every step of the way,” Brisbane Airport Corporation chief executive officer Gert-Jan de Graaff said.

Gert-Jan de Graaff

“The challenge is we are undertaking a vast project while still connecting 60,000 passengers to their destinations each day. It’s a bit like doing open heart surgery on a patient while they’re running a marathon. It won’t be easy, but we must get it done so our terminal meets Australian Government mandated security standards for safer travel. 

“It will be more important than ever for passengers to continue arriving 90 minutes before their domestic flight to ensure a smooth departure.”

Travellers will be guided by airport ambassadors, customer service officers, updated signage, and help via bne.com.au plus the airport’s social media channels. 

Domestic Terminal upgrade starts this week

It all begins with a major overhaul of what is Australia’s most interconnected domestic terminal.

The Domestic Terminal was opened on 19 March 1988 in time for World Expo ’88 and according to de Graaf, “some of our terminal is certainly overdue for a makeover”.

Some of the changes are cosmetic. Others are set to streamline movement through the terminal.

Brisbane Airport will install new Computed Tomography (CT) technology in its domestic terminal to meet Australian Government standards by 2025. This means passengers moving through Security will be able to leave most items in their hand luggage including laptops and aerosols. 

Brisbane Airport

To accommodate the new security screening equipment, a state-of-the-art mezzanine level is under construction above the Central Terminal Area. This engineering marvel will provide direct access to security screening for passengers who have already checked in and are carrying only hand luggage.

An outdated baggage system that dates back to the 1980s is receiving some much-needed modernisation. A new world-class baggage system is being installed to improve reliability, capacity, security, and sustainability. The new system features upgraded security and energy-saving technology.

An entirely new baggage hall will be constructed to facilitate this upgrade, ensuring a smooth transition from the old system to the new.

Upgrades to the Domestic Terminal’s self-check-in areas will simplify the check-in process for passengers of all domestic airlines. These enhancements will seamlessly integrate with bag drop and security screening, giving passengers more time to enjoy the airport’s amenities.

Gate departure lounges will get new carpet and seating, with a focus on Australian-designed and manufactured furniture and recycled materials.

Bathrooms in the terminal will also be upgraded. These renovations will increase capacity, provide accessible bathrooms and parenting rooms, and incorporate sustainable design principles to reduce water usage.

The Virgin Australia end of the terminal is set to become a hub for food and beverage options. Construction is underway to offer passengers a range of dining choices, including a 360-degree restaurant — the largest at the airport.

To reduce emissions and noise, Brisbane Airport is investing in charging stations for its fleet of airside electric vehicles. The aim is to have 70% of these vehicles electric by 2026, contributing to a more environmentally friendly airport experience.

Brisbane Airport is designing bussing lounges to enhance passenger comfort during remote parking bay transit. Additionally, the expansion of the P2 car park will provide more parking options for passengers, including storage for scooters and bikes, sheltered from the elements.

“While there will be some changes to the way you move through the terminal during construction, the end result will be a terminal we can all be proud of. And this is just the start of Future BNE.” 

What can travellers do to stay up to date with the transformation at Brisbane Airport?