Passing through this regional Queensland airport today, I thought it would be great to take a few snaps and do a write-up on this booming gateway to the Sunshine Coast.
The airport sits just north of the Sunshine Coast city of Maroochydore where it straddles the striking golden coastline. Its aspect gives passengers stunning views when departing or arriving at the airport (see my video below to check it out).
Set-up in the 1950’s, it was little more than a general aviation strip – but over the next few decades upgrades have been made to allow the airport to accept larger aircraft such as A320’s and 737’s.
In 2009, the airport handled over 900,000 passengers on almost 90,000 movements, but the airport is rapidly expanding. Air New Zealand has recently announced the continuation of twice-weekly seasonal services between Auckland and the Sunshine Coast. The airport handles year round services from Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Tiger.
Arriving at the airport, we parked the rental car among the palm tree-lined car park and made our way to the check in area. The airport is single story and is fairly small, with check in at one end of the building and arrivals at the other, with the departure entry roughly mid way. The one lane security clearance entry seems to be adequate for an airport of this size, though keep in mind that it does get busy in peak periods (it took us about 15 mins to clear).
Once you are in the terminal, there are a few shops (like Rip Curl and a Newsagent) and takeaway food options and a bar – fairly typical departure hall fodder. There are no airport lounges here, so you will need to hang out with the masses while waiting for your flight. I counted eight gates with the eighth (from what I could make out) used for international services when they are running. Passengers walk on the apron to the waiting aircraft.
The airport did get a bit cluttered with holiday makers, families and their screaming kids – perhaps I’ve been sheltered by airline lounge nirvana, but it seemed very loud with a lot of passenger activity. When boarding commenced the line would snake the width of the terminal which made the terminal look just that little bit more packed to the brim.
Sunshine Coast Airport is a great alternative if you’re wanting to avoid Brisbane and particularly useful if you are visiting Noosa and the Sunshine Coast surrounds. It is also a great option for Sunshine Coast residents who can get one stop transit access to many international destinations via Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland.