IT'S been a big 12 months in the skies above the Gold Coast with the city's airport recording more than six million passenger movements during the past year.
The figures, for the 12 months to the end of December, were boosted by a string of new routes secured by Gold Coast Airport within Australia as well as overseas.
International passengers recorded the biggest percentage gain for the year at 13.7 per cent, while domestic passengers were up 4 per cent.
Total passenger movements were 6.02 million, with international visitors accounting for 942,318 of those. The figures show an extra 210,000 passengers passed through Gold Coast Airport during the year.
"We welcomed a number of new services in 2015, including Wuhan, Fiji, Avalon, Townsville, Rockhampton and Perth," says the airport's chief operating officer Marion Charlton. "We also welcomed additional capacity on existing routes such as Melbourne."
Passenger numbers were up 5.5 per cent in the peak holiday period during December compared to a year earlier with the month accounting for 9 per cent of total passenger movements for the year.
"Extra capacity from our airline partners was added over the Christmas and New Year period to accommodate the influx of holiday makers," Charlton says.
The figures come on the heels of a $200 million upgrade for the Coolangatta facility which will be completed in stages.
Project Lift compromises the redevelopment of the southern end of the existing terminal, and is expected to almost double the size of the city's international gateway. It will include three new wide-bodied aircraft stands, a three-level terminal development and up to four aerobridges.
"This new facility will accommodate growth until the year 2023 and will completely transform Gold Coast Airport as we know it," says Charlton.
The development plan is currently with the Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development for review and approval, with a decision expected before the end of March.
Gold Coast Airport this week revealed the federal government has approved the installation of an Instrument Landing System at the airport to facilitate all-weather landing.
"These additions translated into an overall increase in total passengers for the year, driven by a 13.7 per cent growth in long haul international passenger movements and 4 per cent growth in domestic passenger movements," says Charlton.
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