“If anything, the massive state government investment in the CityTrain network, the accelerated terminal development plans at Brisbane Airport and the 2032 Olympics makes having a direct airport train service to the city and Gold Coast even more crucial for SEQ.”
Tate said while Cross River Rail would have some benefit to the Gold Coast, he was concerned about the effect the change would have on travellers.
“I accept that the services from the coast to Brisbane will be faster, but having to change for an airport connection is a huge disincentive,” he said.
“The whole intent of Cross River Rail is more services, faster services and greater reliability. That seems to not apply to the critical airport direct services.”
Destination Gold Coast chief executive Patricia O’Callaghan said it would be a blow to the region’s tourism industry.
“Seamless travel between Brisbane and the Gold Coast is so important to our visitor economy, especially for visitors traveling through Brisbane Airport,” she said.
“We know that travelers are looking for ease of connectivity when planning their transport options, while frequency of services is also a priority.
“We look forward to understanding these new routes in more detail.”
Public transport advocate Robert Dow, meanwhile, said there was a potential silver lining for Airtrain.
Dow, from the lobby group Rail Back on Track, said Airtrain could make the change work for its business model, with fast population growth in Ipswich, Springfield and Ripley Valley.
“They could say we are running services through the city and along the Ipswich line, but I know they are not happy,” he said.
Basche said Airtrain had sought to engage with the government on future network planning and indicated he did not consider the matter to be settled.
“Given there is still more than three years before Cross River Rail will open, there is still sufficient time for engagement and input from stakeholders,” he said.
In response to the announcement, Brisbane Airport Corporation spokesman Stephen Beckett said: “Fast, reliable and affordable public transport is essential for Brisbane Airport. We’ll work with all levels of government to ensure Queenslanders who need to get to the airport can do so as easily as possible.”
Comment was sought from Bailey, whose office directed queries to Translink. Translink had not responded before the close of business on Tuesday.