Brisbane Airport begins £2.5 billion makeover

In a significant move aimed at transforming the Brisbane Airport to meet the anticipated surge in travelers, the airport is set to undergo a massive $5 billion upgrade, marking the beginning of construction at the domestic terminal this week.

This ambitious initiative is part of the airport’s comprehensive Future BNE project, encompassing over 150 projects designed to modernize and expand the current infrastructure in preparation for an expected increase of 10 million travelers over the coming decade.

Gert-Jan de Graff, the CEO of Brisbane Airport, acknowledged the complexities of executing these upgrades while ensuring the seamless operation of the terminals. “It will be challenging because every day there are about 60,000 people using this building, and we’re going to do all this work at the same time,” said Mr. de Graff. He likened the endeavor to “open-heart surgery while running a marathon,” emphasizing the commitment to achieving this ambitious project successfully.

One of the key components of this project is the upgrade of the security screening process, slated for completion by the end of 2025, in response to heightened standards set by the Australian government. This improved system will allow passengers to keep most of their items in their bags, streamlining the security process.

Additionally, a new mezzanine level will connect to the skywalk, enabling passengers who have checked in online and are traveling with only carry-on baggage to walk directly from the carpark to the security screening area. Furthermore, the airport’s baggage system is set to undergo a much-needed overhaul, merging the current disparate systems into one cohesive system to enhance the check-in and baggage claim experience for travelers.

Mr. de Graff expressed his enthusiasm for the improvements, stating that this would be a significant enhancement for both travelers and the staff working in the baggage areas. “Currently our baggage system consists of three different systems, and they’re not talking to each other,” he explained.

Passengers can look forward to more self-check-in facilities, upgraded restrooms, and refreshed gate departure lounges. The dated 80s-styled gates will be transformed into modern lounges, promising a superior airport experience for all travelers.

The airport will also introduce ten new dining options, including a 360-degree restaurant and a new bar with panoramic views of the runway. Charging stations will be strategically placed to accommodate airside electric vehicles, aligning with Brisbane Airport’s objective to electrify 70 percent of airside vehicles by 2026.

Mr. de Graff emphasized the sustainability aspect, noting that the implementation of charging systems will enable airlines to transition from diesel fuel handling equipment to electric equipment, contributing significantly to sustainability efforts.

Stacy Pollard, Head of Terminal Operations, revealed that the upgrade is scheduled to be completed in time for the Brisbane Olympic Games. “It will be a very staged process, but we’re extremely excited to start this renovation on this terminal,” Ms. Pollard said, underlining the airport’s preparedness for growth as they work toward the 2032 Paralympic and Olympic Games. “It will be worth the wait, and we’re excited to take you on this journey,” she added.