The AFP has warned it may issue flight bans to schoolies who are drunk or misbehaving at the airport in a bid to prevent serious incidents.
The force added that in the last year, there were 50 ‘intoxication’ incidents and 10 assaults at Gold Coast Airport alone.
“We don’t want to be the party police, but the AFP will make arrests if passengers are intoxicated or causing a disturbance,” said AFP Airport Police Commander Josh Kinghorn.
“We understand school leavers want to celebrate the end of their exams, but passengers and airport staff deserve to feel safe during their flight.
“If offensive or abusive behaviour occurs mid-flight, the AFP will be waiting at the terminal to arrest and escort offenders off the plane.”
Police presence has also increased with drug detection dogs patrolling the terminals during the busy schoolies period.
The behaviour that may warrant a flight ban includes, intoxication, public disturbance, smoking in non-permitted areas, carrying prohibited items and incidents relating to assault.
If caught with illicit drugs, school leavers could face drug possession charges and up to two years imprisonment.
AFP also warned the school leavers, most of which are 18 upon graduating, that they will be treated and tried as adults and strongly recommends paying attention to the current behaviour that has been witnessed.
It comes soon after the Gold Coast’s new $260 million terminal expansion opened to international passengers on Thursday morning.
The three-level project, which opened domestically in September, doubles the building’s capacity and offers “spectacular” views of both the surrounding area as well the northern NSW hinterland.
It specifically includes six new gates and room for up to 19 wide-body aircraft. New additions to open this week included border security and an expanded Heinemann duty-free store.
Already, Gold Coast operates international services via Scoot, Jetstar and Air New Zealand, with Virgin Australia flying to Bali from March next year.
Its services to Auckland and Singapore meanwhile open up connected flights to longer-haul destinations such as the UK, Europe, and USA.
The expansion, designed by Hassell and built by Lendlease, includes a triple-height glass-walled departure hall, four glass aerobridges, and space for 18 new food and retail outlets.
The development is part of a wider $500 million of investment in the Gold Coast Airport precinct since 2018, including the $260 million terminal, $86 million in airside works, and other associated infrastructure.