Glass-fibre-reinforced polyester composite plates were treated with an atmospheric pressure dielectric barrier discharge. Synthetic air was used as the treatment gas. The water contact angle dropped markedly from 84 to 22° after a 2-s treatment, and decreased to 0° when the composite plates were treated for more than 30 s. X-Ray photoelectron spectroscopic analysis showed that the contents of aluminium and oxygen on the surface increased with the plasma treatment. The adhesion strength of the 2-s treated surface was comparable to or higher than that achieved by conventional mechanical surface roughening. It decreased when the surfaces were treated for 5 and 15 s, but recovered for 30-s treatment.