Gold Coast Airport

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Gold Coast Airport
Gold Coast Airport logo.svg
GC Apron.jpg
Airport typePublic
Owner/OperatorQueensland Airports Limited
ServesGold Coast, Queensland Tweed Heads, New South Wales
LocationBilinga, Queensland
Hub forJetstar Airways
Focus city forVirgin Australia
Elevation AMSL21 ft / 6 m
Coordinates28°09′54″S 153°30′22″E / 28.16500°S 153.50611°E / -28.16500; 153.50611Coordinates: 28°09′54″S 153°30′22″E / 28.16500°S 153.50611°E / -28.16500; 153.50611
YBCG is located in Queensland
Location in Queensland
Direction Length Surface
m ft
14/32 2,492 8,176 Asphalt
17/35 582 1,909 Asphalt
Statistics (2016/17)
Passenger MovementsIncrease 6,457,086
Aircraft MovementsIncrease 42,570
Sources: AIP[1]
passenger and aircraft movements from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE)[2]
Gold Coast Airport Statistics[3]
Year Total passengers
2001–02 1,736,004
2002–03 2,177,602
2003–04 2,504,001
2004–05 3,141,771
2005–06 3,515,021
2006–07 3,777,856
2007–08 4,323,355
2008–09 4,618,200
2009–10 5,186,147
2010–11 5,486,072
2011–12 5,315,923
2012–13 5,795,449
2013–14 5,746,566
2014-15 5,865,437
2015-16 6,303,920

Gold Coast Airport (formerly known as Coolangatta Airport) (IATA: OOL, ICAO: YBCG) is an international Australian airport located at the southern end of the Gold Coast and approximately 90 km (56 mi) south of center of Brisbane, within South East Queensland agglomeration. The entrance to the airport is situated in the suburb of Bilinga near Coolangatta. The runway itself straddles the state border of Queensland and New South Wales. During summer these states are in two different time zones. The Gold Coast Airport operates on Queensland Time all year round (year-round AEST / UTC+10).

For the 2015–16 financial year, Gold Coast Airport exceeded 6 million passengers. It is the sixth-busiest airport in Australia, and the busiest outside a state capital, in terms of passengers, and eighth-busiest in aircraft movements.[2] It is also the third-fastest-growing airport in the country.[4]


Until 1999 the airport was known as Coolangatta Airport. This is an Aboriginal word meaning "Place of Good View". It originally consisted (1936) of three grass strips with the intention of only providing an emergency landing ground for airmail aircraft transiting between Brisbane and Sydney. Passenger flights took off for the first time in 1939 using the then grassy field of the current Coolangatta site. Regular services were started by Queensland Airlines and Butler Air Transport after the Second World War. Ansett started its own services in 1950 using DC-3s, while Trans Australia Airlines did the same in 1954 using DC-3s, too, as well as DC-4s and Convairs to link other Australian cities.[5]

By 1958 the taxiways and runways were fully paved, with the latter upgraded a decade later to allow jet operations with DC-9 and L-188 Electra aircraft to begin. The current terminal, known as the Eric Robinson Building, was officially opened in 1981 by Acting Prime Minister Douglas Anthony, when at the time more than 650,000 passengers were using the airport. The following year, the main runway was lengthened to 2,042 m (6,699 ft), thus permitting the use of wide-body jets by the two domestic operators Ansett Australia and Trans Australia Airlines and their Boeing 767 and Airbus A300 respectively on flights from Melbourne and Sydney.[5]

On 1 January 1988 the airport ownership was transferred from the government to the Federal Airports Corporation. Its full privatisation occurred a decade later, when it was taken over by Queensland Airports Limited (QAL) on 29 May 1998. By 1999 the company's name had changed to become Gold Coast Airport Pty Ltd (GCAPL).[6] The airport suffered from the collapse of Ansett in 2001 – Ansett had operated direct services from the Gold Coast to 12 Australian destinations.

In 2003 GCAPL was taken over by QAL, which today also owns and operates Mount Isa Airport, Townsville Airport and Longreach Airport.[7]

Despite the name change from Coolangatta Airport to Gold Coast Airport during the change of ownership, the airport retains its original IATA Airport code, OOL.

In 1990 the airport welcomed its first international charter service from New Zealand, and by 1999 Air New Zealand low-cost subsidiary Freedom Air started scheduled no-frills service from Hamilton, New Zealand with Boeing 737s. In 2007 the airport celebrated the arrival of AirAsia X, which began services directly to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Tiger Airways Australia, which started services to Melbourne. Subsequently, the airport has had flights from Air Pacific from Nadi, Fiji. Jetstar to Tokyo and Osaka. Services to New Zealand increased as well, with Jetstar, Air New Zealand and Pacific Blue flying to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Airnorth also started services to the airport from Darwin, via Mount Isa. In addition, Virgin Blue announced direct services from Canberra and Townsville. This opened up connections between all three QAL-owned airports – Mount Isa Airport, Townsville Airport and Gold Coast Airport.

2010 saw Jetstar announce the airport as its newest hub, increased services to Cairns[8] and new direct services to Perth[9] (discontinued in 2013) and Queenstown.[10] Tiger Airways also announced their newest base at Avalon Airport in Geelong, and said that services from Avalon to the Gold Coast would commence later in the year;[11] however, services to Adelaide would be cut due to delays in receiving new aircraft which were intended for their new Avalon base.[12]

On 26 October 2010 Gold Coast Airport was named the 2010 Major Airport of the Year 2010 by the Australian Airports Association (AAA).[13]


Eric Robinson terminal from inside an Airbus A320
Inside the newly refurbished terminal building in 2015

It is anticipated that a railway station will be constructed at the airport if the Gold Coast line is extended. In 2008 the Tugun Bypass opened and featured a tunnel under the runway.[14]

The airport opened an extension to the main runway as well as a full-length parallel taxiway in May 2007. The runway will be 2,500 m (8,202 ft) long, allowing for heavier aircraft with greater range to takeoff.[15] The final runway was confirmed as 2,492 m (8,176 ft) long in 2007, as says the plaque and photos of 2006 runway length of 2042 m compared to the 2007 runway length of 2,492 m on the left wall of the arrivals southern exit.

On 16 May 2007, the runway extension was officially inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Transport, Mark Vaile.[16]

Gold Coast Airport appointed ADCO Constructions as the principal design and construct contractor for a $100-million redevelopment of the airport's main terminal. Completed in 2010, the project doubled the size of the existing facility to almost 27,000 m2 (290,000 sq ft), incorporating domestic and international operations with self-service kiosks and 40 common-user check-in desks. The works will accommodate forecast growth for the next 10 years with a further expansion, stage two, scheduled to kick in upon demand. The main terminal – Terminal 1 – currently houses operations for Jetstar Airways, Virgin Australia, Air New Zealand, AirAsia X, Tigerair and Scoot.

Tigerair flights previously operated from a low-cost terminal with basic amenities, located approximately 200 m (660 ft) from the main terminal building. Tiger flights have since been moved to the main terminal.

Seair Pacific, a scheduled and charter airline based at Gold Coast Airport, operate from their own hangar in the general aviation part of the airport.

An Instrument Landing System (ILS) was scheduled to be installed at the airport by June 2015 to enable planes to land during adverse weather conditions. It would be a Required navigation performance (RNP) system rather than a traditional ILS as this would allow planes to cross the coast at Currumbin rather than Surfers Paradise and therefore fly over fewer houses. The proposed ILS had become an issue with residents concerned with noise.[17] On 25 January 2016 the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, Warren Truss, approved the installation of an ILS at Gold Coast Airport. Due to Ground contamination that was found at the ILS location, it will not be able to be installed before the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.[18]

2016 has seen the commencement of Project LIFT an approximate $300 million upgrade featuring two new wide-bodied aircraft stands and a three-level terminal development with four aerobridges and improved ground transport facilities.


Gold Coast Airport has two airline lounges: one, operated by Virgin Australia, has been operational since 30 May 2012,[19] and is available to business class passengers, Virgin Australia lounge members, and Velocity Frequent Flyer Gold and Platinum members. A Qantas Club has been operational at the airport as of 3 December 2012,[20] and is available to business class passengers, Qantas Club members, and Qantas Frequent Flyer Gold and Platinum members.

Airlines and destinations[edit]


The following airlines operate scheduled and in some cases chartered passenger flights from Gold Coast Airport. All passenger airlines operate flights from the main terminal (T1) with the exception of Seair Pacific, which operates from their own hangar in the general aviation part of the airport.

AirAsia X Auckland (ends 11 February 2019),[21] Kuala Lumpur–International
Air New Zealand Auckland, Christchurch
Jetstar Airways Adelaide, Auckland, Avalon, Cairns, Christchurch, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth,[22] Queenstown, Sydney, Tokyo-Narita, Wellington
Qantas Melbourne, Sydney
QantasLink Melbourne, Sydney
Scoot Singapore
Seair Pacific Charter: Lady Elliot Island
Tigerair Australia Hobart,[23] Melbourne, Sydney[24]
Virgin Australia Adelaide, Auckland, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney
Seasonal: Perth (begins 13 December 2018) [25]


The following airlines operate scheduled cargo flights from Gold Coast Airport. All cargo services operate from the Freight Terminal.

Toll Priority
operated by Toll Aviation
Ballina, Bankstown, Brisbane, Coffs Harbour

Qantas Freight uses the cargo space of Jetstar aircraft to transport cargo domestically. It is also contracted for Jetstar international flights and Air New Zealand flights from the airport. It offers same day/overnight and standby services domestically airport to airport and airport to door from Gold Coast Airport.[26]

Coast Cargo is a registered Cargo Terminal Operator (CTO) and currently handles AirAsia X and Virgin Australia airlines. It is also the agent for Toll Air Express.[27]


Busiest domestic routes out of Gold Coast Airport (2014)[28]
Rank Airport Passengers % Change
1 New South Wales, Sydney 2,596,400 Increase 1.5
2 Victoria, Melbourne 1,754,200 Increase 4.7
3 South Australia, Adelaide 215,300 Increase 5.0
Busiest international routes out of Gold Coast Airport in 2016[29]
Rank Airport Passengers % Change
1 New Zealand, Auckland 363,483 Increase 27.0
2 Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur International 202,841 Increase 23.3
3 Japan, Tokyo-Narita 129,977 Decrease 14.5
4 Singapore, Singapore 121,229 Decrease 7.5
5 New Zealand, Christchurch 84,749 Increase 0.9
6 New Zealand, Wellington 45,375 Increase 3.9
7 New Zealand, Queenstown 43,447 Increase 11.7

Public transportation[edit]


The airport is located on the western side of the Gold Coast Highway, the terminal is 300 metres from the highway. The Gold Coast Highway passes through all the coastal suburbs of the city and is the most direct route to most of major holidays destinations on the Gold Coast. The Pacific Motorway (M1) interchange is 1.5 km south of the airport. The Pacific Motorway connects the city to northern New South Wales, western suburbs and Brisbane City.

Public bus[edit]

All bus services are provided by Surfside Buslines.

Airport shuttles[edit]

There are a number of private operators offering transfers between Gold Coast Airport and Brisbane. Scheduled transfers are available for arriving and departing passengers.[32][33]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

In March 1949, a Lockheed Lodestar aircraft became airborne at Bilinga airstrip for a flight to Archerfield Airport. Before reaching a height of 500 ft (150 m) it stalled and crashed. All 21 occupants died in the crash or the ensuing conflagration. It was Queensland's worst civil aviation accident.[34][35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ YBCG – Gold Coast (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 08 November 2018
  2. ^ a b Airport traffic data Archived 14 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Airport Traffic Data 1985–86 to 2010–11". Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 5 May 2012.
  4. ^ "About Gold Coast Airport". Gold Coast Airport. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  5. ^ a b "About". Gold Coast Airport. Archived from the original on 6 September 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Gold Coast Airport History". Gold Coast Airport, Queensland. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
  7. ^ "Queensland Airports Limited". Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Jetstar increases flights to Cairns – Airline-Hotel-News". Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  9. ^ Dale Granger (17 August 2010). "Jetstar to slash prices and put on 22 extra flights to Perth, Latest Business & Australian Stock market News". Perth Now. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  10. ^ [1] Archived 21 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ "Tiger Airways". Tiger Airways. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  12. ^ Creedy, Steve (24 August 2010). "Tiger cuts routes in profit review". The Australian. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  13. ^ [2] Archived 5 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "Tugun Bypass project – Queensland Department of Main Roads". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2008.
  15. ^ Finelli, Marco: Coolangatta Gold Coast – An airport with a golden future, page 55, (Airliner World online) September 2005
  16. ^ Tourism takes off at Gold Coast Airport Minister for Transport and Regional Services online
  17. ^ Potts, Andrew (12 February 2014). "Instrument landing system to be installed at Gold Coast Airport by June 2015". Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
  18. ^ | title= ILS Installation Approval – AirService Australia | url= | publisher=AirService Australia | accessdate=29 JAN 2016
  19. ^ David Flynn (30 May 2012). "Virgin Australia opens new Gold Coast airport lounge". Australian Business Traveller. Australian Business Traveller. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  20. ^ John Walton (3 December 2012). "First pictures of new Qantas Club at Gold Coast". Australian Business Traveller. Australian Business Traveller. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
  21. ^ "AirAsia drops Auckland to KL route". Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  22. ^ "Cheap Flight Specials and Airfare Deals in Australia and Abroad - Jetstar Airlines Australia". Jetstar. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  23. ^ "Tigerair Australia to be the only low cost carrier to operate Hobart - Gold Coast route" (PDF). Tigerair Australia. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  24. ^ Creedy, Steve (7 March 2012). "Expanded Tiger Airways to create 150 jobs in Sydney". The Australian. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  25. ^ "Virgin Australia's direct flights between the Gold Coast and Perth". Australian Business Traveller. 18 September 2018. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  26. ^ "General Aviation & Freight". Gold Coast Airport. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  27. ^ "General Aviation and Freight". Gold Coast Airport – At the Airport. Gold Coast Airport. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  28. ^ "Domestic aviation activity 2014" (PDF). Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). April 2015. Retrieved 26 April 2015. Refers to "Regular Public Transport (RPT) operations only"
  29. ^ [3]
  30. ^ Translink (20 January 2014). "705, 777" (PDF). Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  31. ^ Translink (20 January 2014). "761" (PDF). Queensland Government. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  32. ^ "Transport". Gold Coast Airport. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  33. ^ "Link Transfers". Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  34. ^ Courier-Mail – 11 March 1949 Retrieved 5 December 2011
  35. ^ Job, Macarthur. "Horror at Coolangatta." Archived 26 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Flight Safety Australia, via, November–December 1999, p. 47. Retrieved: 30 November 2011

External links[edit]