By Tom Ganley, Executive General Manager Corporate Affairs, Adelaide Airport

Adelaide Airport has delivered on a $200 million expansion of its domestic and international terminal. It is the airport’s biggest infrastructure project since the completion of its existing terminal building in 2005, and was delivered on time and on budget in the midst of the biggest upheaval in global aviation history.

International upgrades have included an addition of baggage belts for arrivals, relocated emigration and security screening and refurbished immigration processing, a larger duty-free precinct for arrivals and departures, and expanded and refurbished dining and retail options.

The expansion has also seen a complete refurbishment of retail areas, resulting in a more than 80 per cent increase in the overall size of the terminal’s retail and dining precinct across domestic and international areas.

Other improvements include a new common user premium international lounge and new VIP facilities for international arrivals and departures, which are anticipated to open once international passenger numbers recover post COVID-19.

Virgin Australia’s members lounge has been relocated and is significantly bigger than the previous facility. The new ‘lounge of the future’ was the first product to be launched for travellers since Virgin Australia entered new ownership. The lounge offers a new look and design, which the airline plans to introduce to its other lounges around the country.

Other components of the project included new secondary examination areas, general office space, plant and storage areas, communication and  transformer rooms, a service yard, forecourt and a new taxi drop-off area to help reduce congestion at the main pick-up and drop-off zone.

Adelaide Airport Managing Director, Brenton Cox, said the airport’s new purpose and updated vision proudly connected South Australia to the world, and created everyone’s favourite airport that was seamless, connected and easy.

“This ethos was a key driver of our terminal expansion project. The journey starts from a new dedicated taxi drop off area, through to 80 per cent more retail space for shopping and dining, a streamlined entry and greater space for international departures and emigration processing, a larger duty-free space, and a common-use international departures lounge and VIP facilities,” Mr Cox said.

“Working with our main project builder, BESIX Watpac, we have expanded the terminal’s footprint by 16,500m² with an additional terminal refurbishment footprint of 18,400m², while the total retail footprint has increased to 7,257m².

“Communicating with the vast number of stakeholders – from airlines and retailers through to security and regulators – was a significant challenge, particularly given many of these stakeholders were an integral part of planning stages, work zones and site management.

“All of the works were carried out with minimal disruption to passengers while managing these complex stakeholder relationships. “It was also important that the terminal expansion was contemporary but sympathetic to the design of the existing T1 terminal.” Mr Cox said the project had provided $200 million directly into the South Australian economy.

“We estimate 60 to 70 per cent of this is local content for South Australia – there’s very little overseas product,” Mr Cox said. “The total number of jobs was more than 200 at the peak of construction. Ongoing employment from the expansion of retail and dining will be about 630 direct and indirect jobs.”

Mr Cox praised the multi-disciplinary project team behind the Adelaide Airport Terminal Expansion, including BESIX Watpac and Adelaide Airport personnel. “Particularly in the building of such a complicated structure in and around an airport environment, while maintaining passenger flows, it has been an amazing team effort,” Mr Cox said.

Adelaide Airport’s retail strategy for the expanded terminal has been built around offering customers a bespoke, South Australian experience where the best of the state’s food and wine could be showcased via restaurants, cafes and shopping experiences.

The first stage of the project, the northern retail concourse area, opened in February 2020, featuring Penfold’s Wine Bar and Kitchen, Precinct Adelaide Kitchen, Soul Origin, Boost Juice, Lego Kaboom and Airport Pharmacy, although all retail areas were forced to close just weeks later due to COVID-19.

Other retail spaces opened as part of the terminal expansion have included the completely refurbished Coopers Alehouse; the 100 Miles restaurant offering food and drinks that have all been sourced within 100 miles of Adelaide Airport; and the Southern Providore showcasing South Australian wine and produce.

Another significant highlight of the project is the relocation of the Vickers Vimy aircraft to a new purpose-built, climatecontrolled space within the new terminal expansion footprint – putting the aircraft and its story front and centre to visitors. The Vickers Vimy aircraft was flown by Adelaide brothers, Sir Keith and Ross Smith, in the famous London to Australia air race in 1919 – the first official flight from England to Australia.

“There are only two of these aircraft left in the world,” Mr Cox said. “The Vickers Vimy is a treasured national asset and Adelaide Airport is proud to be its custodian. The aircraft was very carefully relocated to its new home earlier this year, and construction of the exhibition space is continuing with the exhibition due to open to the public later in the year.

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