Brisbane Airport’s New Runway Opens

Brisbane Airport’s newly opened $1.1 billion parallel runway puts it on par with Sydney, Singapore and Hong Kong, as capacity soars from 50 flight movements an hour to 110.

Image Credit: Brisbane Airport Australia Newsroom

Brisbane’s new parallel runway was officially opened on Sunday 12 July 2020, giving it the most capacity and the most efficient runway system in Australia.

Virgin Australia’s flight VA781 had the honour of making the first departure. Piloted by Captain John Ridd and First Officer Troy Parker, the plane flew to Cairns to highlight the connection to the state’s regions. The flight on Sunday mirrored the very first flight to tropical North Queensland – exactly 73 years ago to the day – and was coupled with a flyover of vintage aircraft, including a 1945 Spitfire plane.

Following an official ribbon cutting on the runway, invited VIP guests gathered airside with 150 Brisbane Airport Corporation staff and 10 local plane spotters, who won a place at the event in a lucky draw, to watch the first aircraft movements and sky show.  

In a first for an Australian capital city airport, the air space above BNE was briefly closed to allow the aerobatics display by Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights, a Brisbane-based private aircraft collection and flight experience company specialising in warbird operations. Flying at speeds of up to 500 kilometres per hour at an altitude of 100 metres the aerobatics display included a breath-taking series of linked manoeuvres, V-formation flying, and a tail chase. 

Harking back to Brisbane Airport’s past, the great-nephew of pioneer Australian aviator Bert Hinkler, Mitch Palm, joined the celebrations on Sunday. Brisbane airport has a rich history, including its role as a World War II airfield.

The project has been five decades in the planning, with approvals commencing in 2005 and construction in 2012. Brisbane Airport is now well positioned to take advantage of all opportunities post-COVID.

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Brisbane has the largest airport in Australia by land size, covering 2,700 Ha,
and has 82,000m2 apron to accommodate freighters.