Cairns Airport Completes T2 Terminal Upgrade

After eighteen months of construction and three years in the planning, Cairns Airport is celebrating the completion of its T2 Domestic Terminal upgrade project.  

The unveiling of the new look terminal is the culmination of extensive planning and cooperation that involved many stages, including everything from understanding the needs of passengers, to engaging with local suppliers across the region. The end result is a new look terminal that instantly connects travellers to Tropical North Queensland and delivers a world-class airport experience. 

The $55m terminal upgrade offers a wide range of customer experience improvements over its 10,000 square metre expansion, with improved layout including enhanced screening flow and reduced congestion.  Navigation in the new terminal is also easier, and passengers can now enjoy a wide selection of local food, beverage and retail offerings.  

Cairns Airport Chief Executive Officer Norris Carter said he was thrilled with the new look terminal that will future proof the airport for many years to come. 

“Our Domestic Terminal is a key piece of infrastructure for both our airport and our community and despite the challenges of recent months, it’s great to reflect on what we’ve achieved.”

“When we commenced this project we set ambitious targets to leave a positive and lasting legacy for Far North Queensland and to provide a first-class airport experience. The T2 Domestic Terminal upgrade recognises our underlying optimism in the future of this region, and Cairns Airport’s commitment to continue to drive connectivity to the Far North,” Mr Carter said. 

Mr Carter said the terminal upgrade was testament to the tremendous collaboration and cooperation that has gone on with Hutchinson Builders, airline partners, retailers, food and beverage operators as well as airport security, who all worked enthusiastically with Cairns Airport to ensure the success of the project. 

 “First impressions mean a lot and we’ve worked hard to represent the depth of the region from its sense of place to its food and culture. As the gateway to the region, we wanted to ensure passengers were instantly connected to the beauty and diversity of Tropical North Queensland, and that’s represented across the terminal. I’m delighted that this upgrade immerses travellers in the authenticity of the Tropical North from local food to iconic bars and imagery.”

The T2 Domestic upgrade also incorporates a number of environmental success stories, including carpet made from recycled fishing nets and more natural and LED lighting. The terminal’s upgraded waste management strategy incorporates three stream waste bins and a macerator that reduces organic food waste from the terminal for composting, which is the third of its kind in Australia. 

The upgraded terminal now boasts a number of new additions, including new expanded seating areas, a new interactive play screen for children, as well as an upgraded Parenting Room. A new Quiet Room can also be found in the terminal for passengers with hidden disabilities.

Kyle Hare Team Leader of Hutchinson Builders Cairns said Hutchies was delighted to be involved in the expansion of the T2 Terminal. 

“We’ve enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with other local businesses and proud to say that as a result of the project 350 direct jobs were secured, supporting around 50 subcontractors and suppliers.”

“As Australia’s largest family owner builder, we are strong believers in the importance of supporting our communities. Hutchies always looks local first, and the majority of our direct team, subcontractors and suppliers were from the region.”

“We’re really proud of the work we’ve completed with Cairns Airport. Projects of this calibre require a high level of planning to ensure minimal disruption to an operational airport. This intricate redevelopment was completed over 24 well executed stages, enabling businesses and commuters to continue with life as usual”, Mr Hare said.

Over 5 percent of the percent of subcontractors employed on the T2 Domestic Terminal upgrade identified as Indigenous, and over 12 percent of those engaged on the project were apprentices.

As part of the new look terminal, Cairns Airport is working with a number of local tourism operators to support and promote tourism activates across the region, and the terminal currently houses displays from local tourism operators. 

The unveiling of the terminal upgrade marks $70m of investment in Cairns Airport in just over two years, after the runway overlay, with both projects funded entirely by North Queensland Airports and our retail partners.  

T2 Domestic Terminal Upgrade – SNAPSHOT 

  • Terminal expansion to 10,000 square metres
  • 2,000m2 of additional retail and dining areas
  • Improved layout and reduced screening congestion
  • Biggest upgrade to Cairns Airport in fifteen years
  • Additional seating and improved layout
  • An additional 2,000 square metres of additional dining and retail space showcasing the best of Tropical North Queensland
  • Will provide 150 ongoing jobs for the region 
  • More water filling stations 
  • Quiet Room 
  • Kids Interactive play screen
  • Refurbished Parenting Room


  • Interface Carpets – Made from recycled fishing nets that provide a source of income for small fishing villages in The Philippines 
  • Carbon neutral tiles 
  • Hardwearing local Queensland timbers for durability and sustainability
  • Three stream waste bins and macerator
  • LED lights used throughout the terminal
  • Use of skylights to capitalise on natural light