The terminal has four levels: level 1 houses most airline offices and baggage handlers, level 2 handles arrivals, level 3 houses the departure lounge (airside) and other offices (landside), and level 4 houses departure check-in.The airport contains an Emirates first class lounge, the first outside Dubai that has direct access to the A380 aerobridges, and also has Air New Zealand, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Plaza Premium lounges.The new airport was built by Leighton Holdings and opened in 1988 with a new domestic terminal and two runways.The new airport was built on the former Brisbane residential suburb of Cribb Island that was demolished to make way for the airport.Although Qantas started operations there in 1926, most of the flights in Brisbane operated at the Archerfield Airport, which contained a superior landing surface.While in operation, Charles Kingsford Smith landed at Eagle Farm on 9 June 1928, after completing the first trans-pacific flight in his Fokker F. There is now a museum containing the original aircraft, along with a memorial located within the Brisbane Airport precinct.
The United States armed forces upgraded the airfield (Eagle Farm Airport) to cater for military flights, bringing it to such a standard that it became the main civilian airport for the city.
Large amounts of sand were pumped from nearby Moreton Bay to raise the swamp land above the tidal range.
The 1988 facilities included: a domestic terminal; state-of-the-art maintenance facilities; freight apron at the existing passenger terminal; a 3500-metre and 1700 metre runways) with parallel taxiway systems (cater for Code F aircraft); access roads; parking facilities and a 75 m (246 ft) tall Air traffic control tower.
In 2016, an OAG report named Brisbane airport as the fifth-best performing large-sized airport in the world for on-time performance with 86.71% of arrivals and departures occurring within 15 minutes of their scheduled times, at Brisbane Airport on 11 March 2014.
Brisbane has the third highest number of domestic connections in Australia following Sydney and Melbourne.