Canberra Aerodrome - New Terminal (Stage 1)

Started by smitho, November 25, 2010, 01:17:14 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Checked out the new terminal this morning. Had last used the old terminal as a passenger on the weekend of 13/14 November, so it was interesting to see the rapid transition to the new building.

In fact, a part of the old Commonwealth-built terminal is still in use - the upstairs departures portion used by Virgin Blue and formerly by Ansett. It is subtly linked to the sweeping departures concourse of the new building,  so you're hardly aware of going from one building to the other.

Interesting comparing it with the new Adelaide terminal which inspired some of the design features of the new Canberra building.

First impressions:-

External appearance is classy - and the elevated road system is impressive and seems to work well.
Heaps of natural light especially in the departures area - great large windows with extensive views out to the airside and to Fairbairn and beyond. (A feature borrowed from the newish Adelaide Airport common user terminal, which looks out to the Adelaide Hills).
Curvey layout of the departures area is imaginative and refreshing - better than Adelaide's dead straight format, which has a tunnel effect and makes distances seem longer.
Good PA system from what I heard of it.
Reasonable internal directional signage (although being on the floor rather than suspended from ceiling, I wondered how practical they are at times when the floorspace is very crowded).
Reasonable amount of seating for passengers and visitors.
Great toilet design.
Security clearance area works pretty well.


A bit colourless - far too much black, grey and white. Looks a bit "sterile and antiseptic" comopared with the new Adelaide building, which uses much more 'natural' timbers and earhty colours and artworks.
So far, no interior vegetation evident - again, reinforces the sterile feel of the place.
Muzak everywhere! Yuk!!! (Talk about retro).
Catering outlets are limited at this stage (but more are on the way).
New external overflow carpark is completely lacking in trees - pretty grim.
Litter in the departures area was pretty bad - especially discarded newspapers.

Sir Pompously

A Few notes from the employee side of things:

The Airport terminal is currently 45% complete. The other 55% will start construction soon, and will include the central Atrium which will hopefully provide more colour, light and give it a less sterile feel. Hopefully they will have internal foliage in the atrium. I also hope they landscape the outside of the terminal better than what is currently seen, it needs it (It also needs a big Aussie flag in the centre of the arrivals/departures road, pride people come on!).

Construction is still ongoing outside the terminal. The taxi holding area is yet to be completed, and entry to the terminal is surrounded on both sides by construction. The taxi holding area and landscaping should have been completed prior to opening. The passenger areas were cleaned ok for the opening, but other areas that passengers and staff used are still dirty and full of dust. Walking into the terminal it still smells heavily of dust, they really need to do a huge clean of all surfaces staff and passenger.

The signage is vague, not visible and there is a lack of information signs and screens throughout. Toilets are not even signed (Only when you walk into the toilet area), the downstairs one is in a little corner of which people never seem to be able to find because nothing points them there. Overhead signage is required in all areas, aswell as more information screens. There is one in the check in hall, one in the arrivals hall (Which is smacked in the corner inbetween the lift and Qantas Baggage Services) and one in the new departures area opposite the Qantas Service Desk. Our thinking is CAG need to provide an information stand for the airport (And also for Canberra Tourism) to guide people. So in answer to your wondering on exactly how practical the signage is, not at all.

The gate screens and check in screens are a great addition, however they need to be re-worked a little. The writing on the screens is too small, and the Check In screens are wayyyyyy to small for the job they are doing. Other ports have screens twice the size at Check In, and information is very clear. These screens are the same size as those at the gate and are often hard to read even for those who can read well from a distance. The gate screens have the Arrivals and Departures information the same size, Departures needs to be much larger and the removal of the analouge clock to just a small digital clock into the corner of the screen. I do not understand the need for both clocks, one is fine.

The security screening point has gone from 5 lanes in the old terminal (3 Qantas, 2 Multi User) to 3. Usually there are maximum 2 lanes open, when in the old terminal you would normally have 4 operating (2 each end, sometimes all three at the Qantas end). Doing the math on that, it equals F**kup. You are having the same amount to more people running through the security point including all Qantas Lounge, The Lounge, Relay, Hudsons, Barton Bar, airline check in and gate tags, items that are required for use in the terminal that have to be screened. So you have pallets and people running through less security. 

I actually like the music, it keeps me sane when doing cleanup work at night to help they guys and girls in the morning get everything out ontime.

The current catering is lacking, however speaking to the company who owns the contract they are going to have more in the long term.

The toilets I like as they have Dyson Airblades. Talk about going all out with those, atleast it does not slightly warm your hands and do nothing like all the rest.

Litter is an ongoing problem, however I believe they are working on it.

The terminal will be great, it is modern, open, will be passenger friendly, and is alot more than the Federal Government has ever done for Canberra Airport. I stress it will be, problems need to be sorted but the only way for them to be sorted is to write in your feedback to and list problems and possible solutions to them.


I found a few problems with the terminal, otherwise everything is fine:
-Toilet roll holders in the toilets are way to low.
-Boarding calls are not broadcast through the toilets
-Not enough arrival/departure boards, I anly saw one in the new part of the terminal
-Not all Virgin Blue boarding calls can be heard in the new terminal
-Qantas don't update their departures, it still shows as 'Open' even after the flight has departed.

As far as security goes their were three lanes open while I was there (not a busy time) and it was quite a breeze to get through.

The new gate 11 aerobridge broke while I was there so VH-TJL did a full rear door boarding.

Sir Pompously

The problem with the "Open", "Boarding", "Final Call" and "Closed" is a CAG problem, not a Qantas one. The system is there it just does not work at this stage, you will notice the Qantas owned screens will change but no the CAG screens.


Quote from: Metrobus on November 25, 2010, 03:59:55 PM
I found a few problems with the terminal, otherwise everything is fine:
-Boarding calls are not broadcast through the toilets

But in modern, larger, busy airports, people don't expect boarding calls these days. They are a blast from the past which we can do without.


Found your comments interesting Sir P. - but can't agree with you on the musak.

Sir Pompously

With regards to Information Screens, the Check In graphics have been enlarged aswell as the Gate Screen graphics. Still no extra working arrivals and departures screens.

Another issue which has not been brought up is the lack of Unicef collection bins in the terminal (There are none) and recycling bins, not good for a terminal that is trying to be green.


Sir P:  Am I right in thinking that when the second stage is completed, Qantas will occupy one wing and Virgin Blue and 'the rest' will have the other wing? Or will it be a common user terminal?

Sir Pompously

Common User from what we have been told, I do not think that stance has changed at all. Customs and Immigration will also be in the next stage, using gates 1 and 2 AFAIK.


Stage 2 opens on Wednesday, changes include:
-Relocation of Security Screening
-Virgin to be re-located with the old terminal to be demolished almost immediately (pretty sure that is starting on the 18th)
-New Virgin Lounge
-Virgin check-in relocation, I believe Qantas takeover their current desks (could be wrong though)

I think that is all from a public perspective. Stage 3 which is just the Central Atrium and gates 9/10 should be completed in October which will conclude the works.


I read somewhere that there is provision for international passenger facilities to be built into the new Canberra terminal if and when international RPT services start up.

(At Adelaide, certain domestic gates can be rapidly converted to international gates for the several international services using the terminal each day).


With the new terminal works drawing closer to completion, it is good to see a bit more colour being introduced to the internal decor....thankfully, not just a hundred variations on Soviet Grey!  Public artworks and airline lounges are pretty good too.

Imposing new facility is a real plus for Canberra, at least in terms of internal design and decor. It certainly is big compared with the old Commonwealth-owned terminals which it replaced.

Noticed a few weeks ago that most of the surving part of the former Ansett/Virgin terminal (now closed to the public) was still in situ.