It may be years before Australia’s aviation industry is fully operational again, but when it ramps-up Brisbane passengers will not have to contend with time-zapping holding patterns and tarmac wait-times ever again.
The opening of a new runway on July 12 will double Brisbane Airport’s capacity for aircraft movements.
Other than for severe weather events, planes will be able to arrive and depart without hindrance.
It’s predicted to take four decades until the airport even gets close to reaching its scheduling capacity, says Brisbane Airport Corporation’s Runway Project Director Paul Coughlan.
“One thing airlines hate is having aircraft circling or waiting on the ground and all that circling over the Sunshine and Gold Coast, it all disappears,” Coughlan said.
“The only time you will be put in a holding pattern is if there’s a severe thunderstorm.”
The $1.1 billion new runway, which took eight years to construct, is 1.5km long and has been strategically placed to allow the future addition of a domestic passenger terminal.
The new runway will be used by planes departing to, or arriving from, destinations to the north and west of Brisbane, both domestically and internationally, such as Cairns, Darwin and Townsville or Europe Asia and the Middle-East.
Sunday’s opening will be a low-key affair, given Australia and the world is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
However, airlines can look forward to maximising their operations in Brisbane and cater for whatever demand there is from holiday-starved Australians when the coronavirus crisis ends, Coughlan said.
The new runway has also been a key selling point in Brisbane’s bid to host the 2032 Olympics, he said.
Darren Cartwright in Brisbane