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Cairns Airport CNS

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Cairns Airport (CNS) Guide

Welcome to Cairns Airport, your gateway to the tropical paradise of North Queensland. With its stunning location and modern facilities, CNS is the perfect starting point for your adventure. Whether you're heading to the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest, or simply exploring the city, our guide has everything you need to make your journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

Planning your trip to CNS Airport? Our extensive guide provides all the information you need to get from your door to your gate, including flight status and tracking, airline departure terminals and gate locations, parking options, terminal maps, and food and shopping directories. With our helpful tips and insider knowledge, you'll be ready to take off in no time!

For more comprehensive information on other major commercial airports, check out the iFly's Airport Guide.

Helpful Tips

When to Arrive

It is recommended that travelers arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their scheduled departure time for domestic flights and three hours prior for international flights. The airport can get quite busy during peak travel times, which include school holidays, public holidays, and weekends. To avoid long lines and potential delays, it is best to plan ahead and arrive early.

Getting to the Airport

There are several ways to get to Cairns Airport, including by car, shuttle bus, taxi, or public transportation. If traveling by car, there are several parking options available, including short-term and long-term parking. The airport also offers a free shuttle service from the parking lot to the terminal. For those using public transportation, there are several bus routes that service the airport. Taxis and shuttle buses are also available for hire.

Getting Oriented

When arriving at Cairns Airport, it is recommended to use's interactive airport maps to get oriented. The maps provide detailed information on the airport's layout, including the location of gates, restrooms, baggage claim, and other amenities. This can help travelers navigate the airport more efficiently and avoid getting lost.

Avoiding Delays

To avoid delays at CNS, it is important to arrive early, as mentioned previously. Additionally, travelers should ensure that they have all necessary documents, such as passports and boarding passes, readily available. It is also important to follow all security procedures and regulations, including removing liquids and electronics from carry-on bags. Lastly, travelers should monitor flight status updates and be prepared for potential delays or cancellations.

Navigating CNS's Terminals

CNS Airport has two terminals: the Domestic Area and the International Terminal. The Domestic Area has 16 gates and is used by airlines such as Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar. The International Terminal has 8 gates and is used by airlines such as Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, and China Eastern Airlines.

To get to the Domestic Area, follow the signs from the main entrance of the airport. The International Terminal is located on the right-hand side of the airport and can be accessed by following the signs from the main entrance.

Once you are inside the terminal, there are plenty of amenities available for your convenience. Both terminals have restaurants, cafes, and shops where you can grab a bite to eat or purchase any last-minute items. There are also ATMs, currency exchange services, and free Wi-Fi available throughout the airport.

Use our interactive airport map to locate food, services, and airline departure gates.

Connecting Between Terminals

At the airport, there are two main terminals: the Domestic Area and the International Terminal. These terminals are located within walking distance of each other, so passengers can easily transfer between them on foot. The walk time between the terminals is approximately 5-10 minutes, depending on your walking speed and luggage.

If you prefer not to walk, there is also a shuttle bus that runs between the terminals. The shuttle bus is free of charge and operates every 10-15 minutes, making it a convenient option for passengers with heavy luggage or those who are in a rush. The shuttle bus is located outside the arrivals area of both terminals.

Dining, Shopping & Enjoying the Airport

At Cairns Airport, travelers can enjoy a variety of dining and shopping options. In the Domestic Area, there are several restaurants and cafes to choose from, including Hudsons Coffee, Boost Juice, and Hungry Jack's. For those looking for a quick snack or beverage, there are also several newsstands and convenience stores, such as Relay and WHSmith.

In the International Terminal, travelers can find even more dining options, including the popular Bar Roma and Noodle Box. For those looking for souvenirs or gifts, there are several stores to browse, such as Australian Way and NewsLink. And for those in need of some last-minute travel essentials, there is a WHSmith and a Relay convenience store.

For a unique shopping experience, travelers can also visit the Indigenous Art Gallery, located in the International Terminal. Here, they can browse and purchase authentic Aboriginal art and crafts.

The locations of all food, shops, and services at Cairns Airport can be found using iFly's interactive map. For a complete list of restaurants, bars, shops, and newsstands, click here.

Airport Hotels

Traveling can be exhausting, but the right accommodation can turn a tiresome journey into a relaxing retreat. The area around the airport boasts a variety of hotels that cater to different tastes and budgets. From lush havens nestled in the heart of Stratford to luxurious villas in Edge Hill, there's something for everyone. Proximity to the airport is a significant factor for many travelers. Luckily, many of these hotels are just a short journey away. Whether you're looking for a tranquil escape with verdant gardens, a unique stay experience with a private pool, or a pet-friendly accommodation option, there's a hotel that fits the bill. These accommodations are not just about comfort and convenience, they also offer easy access to local attractions. So why wait? Start planning your stay now. View all CNS Hotels.

Picking Up and Dropping Off Passengers

At CNS Airport, passengers can be picked up and dropped off at the designated curbside areas outside each terminal. However, it is important to note that there are strict time limits for curbside parking, and vehicles must not be left unattended at any time. To avoid any issues, it is recommended that drivers use the free cell-phone waiting areas located near each terminal, where they can wait for their passengers to arrive before proceeding to the curbside pick-up area.

It is also important to be aware of the parking restrictions in place at the airport. There are several parking options available, including short-term and long-term parking, as well as valet parking services. It is recommended that passengers pre-book their parking to ensure availability and to take advantage of any discounts or promotions that may be available. Additionally, there are designated drop-off zones located near each terminal for those who wish to quickly drop off passengers and their luggage before proceeding to park their vehicle.

Parking Facilities & Options

Cairns Airport offers a variety of parking options for travelers. There are several parking lots and garages located within close proximity to both the Domestic and International terminals. The parking facilities are secure and well-lit, providing a safe environment for vehicles.

For those waiting to pick up arriving passengers, there are cell phone waiting areas available. These areas allow drivers to wait in their vehicles until their passengers have arrived and are ready to be picked up.

Handicapped parking is also available at Cairns Airport. These spots are located in convenient areas near the terminals and are clearly marked for easy identification.

Off-airport parking is a great option for those looking to save money on parking fees. There are several off-airport parking lots located near CNS that offer shuttle service to and from the terminals. These lots are typically less expensive than on-airport parking and can be a great option for travelers on a budget.

Get details about CNS Airport parking options and rates, along with more economical off-airport parking here.

Transportation Options

The airport offers a variety of ground transportation options to help you get to your destination.

If you prefer to rent a car, there are several car rental companies available at the airport, including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Thrifty. You can find their counters in the arrivals area of both the domestic and international terminals.

Taxi services are also available at Cairns Airport, with a designated taxi rank located outside the arrivals area of both terminals. Fares are metered and vary depending on your destination.

If you're looking for a more affordable option, shared ride services like Uber and Ola are available for pickup at the designated rideshare area outside the domestic terminal. However, please note that these services are not permitted to pick up passengers from the international terminal.

Airport shuttles are another convenient option for transportation to your destination. Several companies offer shuttle services from the airport to various locations in Cairns and surrounding areas. You can find their counters in the arrivals area of both terminals. Fares vary depending on your destination and the shuttle company you choose.

For those who prefer public transportation, the Sunbus operates several routes that serve Cairns Airport. You can find the bus stop outside the domestic terminal. Fares vary depending on your destination and the route you take.

Passenger Services

CNS provides a range of services to ensure a comfortable and stress-free travel experience for passengers.

For those needing to stay connected, free wifi is available throughout the airport terminals.

If you have lost an item during your travels, head to the lost and found office located in the Domestic Area of the airport.

Traveling with children? There are play areas located in both the Domestic and International terminals to keep little ones entertained.

CNS Airport also offers special-needs services, including accessible parking, wheelchair assistance, and accessible restrooms. If you require these services, be sure to contact the airport in advance to make arrangements.

Banking services are available at the airport, with ATMs located throughout both terminals. Medical help is also available at the airport, with a medical center located in the International terminal.

Flight Status Info

As an air traveler, it is important to stay informed about the status of your flight. At the airport, there are several ways to check for flight updates and changes.

One of the easiest ways to check for flight status is by using the in-airport flight displays (FIDS). These displays are located throughout the airport and provide real-time information on flight departures, delays, and gate assignments.

Another convenient way to stay informed about your flight is by using your airline's mobile phone app. Many airlines offer apps that allow passengers to receive alerts about departure delays, cancelations, or gate changes via text, email, or push notifications.

Passengers can also check the status of their flight departure at Cairns Airport by visiting the flight departures page on, which provides real-time updates on flight departures, delays, and gate information.

Airport Facts & Stats

Cairns Airport is located in Cairns, Australia and serves as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. It is the seventh busiest airport in Australia and handles over 5 million passengers on average each year.

The airport has two terminals, one for domestic flights and the other for international flights. The domestic terminal has 28 check-in counters and the international terminal has 16 check-in counters.

The top airlines with the most daily flights at CNS are Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia. On average, there are 130 daily flights departing from CNS Airport.

The airport serves 19 domestic destinations and 12 international destinations on average. The top 5 domestic destinations served are Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Townsville, and Darwin. The top 5 international destinations served are Tokyo, Auckland, Port Moresby, Hong Kong, and Bali.

Several air carriers use Cairns Airport as a hub, including Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia. These airlines offer connections to destinations throughout Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Airport History

Cairns Airport is an international airport located in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. It serves as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and is one of the busiest regional airports in Australia.

Here are some significant events in the airport's history:

  • 1928 - The airport was established as a landing ground for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
  • 1943 - The airport was used as a military base during World War II.
  • 1950 - The first commercial flight took off from CNS.
  • 1984 - The airport underwent a major expansion, including the construction of a new terminal building.
  • 2003 - A new runway was built to accommodate larger aircraft.
  • 2010 - The airport was renamed Cairns International Airport to reflect its status as an international gateway.
  • 2014 - A new domestic terminal was opened to cater to the growing number of domestic passengers.

Today, CNS Airport serves over 5 million passengers annually and continues to play a vital role in connecting the people of Far North Queensland to the rest of the world.

Airport Contact Info

For more information about the airport, please refer to the following contact details:

Find more help here for your journey through the airport