Upgrades to the Gold Coast International Airport will expand accessibility and attract more businesses to the city.
Although 2018 saw a 1.7 per cent increase in passengers on the Gold Coast to almost 6.6 million, reduced airport capacity - and increased demand due to the Commonwealth Games - dampened that growth.
The airport is currently undergoing an $86 million facelift, which includes the construction of a new apron, taxiway and, for the first time, an airport hotel.
In September this year, the Federal government granted approval for a $50 million Rydges-branded hotel to be built at the Gold Coast Airport precinct.
The improvements are part of a new era of expansion for the Gold Coast Airport. By 2020 the airport will contribute $818 million annually to the region and support about 20,000 full time jobs.
The growth also coincides with an influx of corporate migration to the coast. Businesses from across Australia are choosing to up stumps and settle on the Gold Coast, enticed by the city's lifestyle, accessibility and low cost of living.
"It's a small town with big city infrastructure," says CartonCloud CEO Vincent Fletcher.
"That's such a rare find."
Fletcher took on a refrigerated transport company in Sydney's southwest in 2012, and developed software to automate paper-based processes.
"We discovered our software could be used by all sorts of organisations," he says.
"So we sold the business, kept the software, and started CartonCloud."
CartonCloud's transition to software development prompted a change of scenery.
"The Gold Coast just made sense," Fletcher says.
"The quality of life is so high, there's low-cost housing and it's so easy to get around. Everything's so close."
The airport was also a consideration: "Most of our work is done online, but we need to attend trade shows and visit clients."
Good flight accessibility and frequency was crucial, but not normally possible from a regional destination. Fletcher found that even in a big city, this was a struggle.
"When you run a business, it's necessary to be able to get to the airport quickly," he says.
"In Sydney, I'd need to be at the airport three hours before a flight, which is tough when it takes an hour and a half to get anywhere.
"On the Gold Coast, I can get to the airport within an hour of takeoff. It's phenomenal."
The upgrades to the Gold Coast Airport will mean greater capacity and more time saved. Project LIFT is a 20,000sq m expansion of the apron area to facilitate parking for up to four additional aircraft.
"The existing direct flights to Singapore are super helpful," Fletcher says.
"And if the redevelopment opens us up to more direct destinations, that'll be a big benefit."
The first stage of Project LIFT was completed in time for the Commonwealth Games, alongside an upgrade to the taxiway. Work on the second stage commences later this year.
Three years after making the move to the Gold Coast, Fletcher says business - and life - is good.
"Businesses looking to move should seriously consider the Gold Coast. The startup community here has become much more vibrant in the last three years.
"I live in Palm Beach, I spend more time at home and less time travelling, and it's a place where my staff want to live and work. It's ideal."