NPR Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a new runway needed?
Brisbane Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in Australia with more than 20 million passengers using the facility in 2010/ 2011. Annual passenger numbers are expected to reach more than 25.3 million in 2014/2015 and around 50 million by 2035, and the existing runway system will find it increasingly difficult to cope with this amount of traffic.
When was the plan first raised?
Planning for a second parallel runway started more than 20 years ago and the footprint for it has appeared in Brisbane street directories for several decades. This level of advanced planning has enabled the provision of significant buffer zones that surround the airport and separate its operations from the community. In fact, Brisbane Airport has the largest buffer zones of any major airport in Australia.
What does the project involve?
The New Parallel Runway project involves constructing a 3,300-metre runway system located two kilometres west of and parallel to the existing runway.
How does Brisbane benefit?
The New Parallel Runway will help to ensure the continued economic strength of our rapidly growing South East Queensland region, providing the essential public infrastructure needed to respond to population growth and to underpin future commercial prosperity for the community. The new runway is the centrepiece of $4.2 billion worth of capacity-related infrastructure planned for the airport over the next 10 years. It has been estimated that this investment will add billions of dollars to the region’s economy and generate tens of thousands of jobs over the next two decades.
At what stage is the plan to build a new runway?
The project was approved by the Australian Government in September 2007. The New Parallel Runway is expected to be operational by around 2020.
Phase 1 Civil Works now underway will commence the site preparation works for the new runway and will include drainage, clearing works and adjustments to the 14/32 runway.
Are any other runways planned for Brisbane Airport?
How will the runway be constructed?
Much of the eight-year construction time will involve preparing the site ahead of constructing the runway system pavements and airfield. Sand will be extracted from Middle Banks in Moreton Bay to consolidate the site. The sand is placed on the site and left to settle for up to four years ahead of building the runway.
Only part of the sand will be used to form the base for the new runway. The rest will be used as “surcharge”, placed much higher than the eventual runway surface to push the existing soils down and force ground water from the underlying soils. Once this compression has been completed, the excess sand will be pushed off to adjoining areas to be used for future aviation infrastructure.
How was the new runway site chosen?
The site for the western parallel runway was selected when the airport was established in its current location in the early 1980s. The runway site has been shown in consecutive Airport Master Plans for more than 20 years. During that time and following feedback from the community, the runway footprint has been moved closer to Moreton Bay to minimise noise impacts for the community.
The new runway has been carefully located within the airport boundaries to optimise safety and to maximise the number of planes that can arrive and depart Brisbane over Moreton Bay.
Why have you selected a parallel runway?
Parallel runways provide BAC with the best opportunity to maximise the number of flights into and out of Brisbane Airport. It also maximises, in appropriate weather conditions, the opportunity for aircraft to arrive and depart simultaneously over the bay.
What is SODPROPs?
“SODPROPs” stands for Simultaneous Opposite Direction Parallel Runway Operations. It refers to one specific method of coordinating the arrival and departure of planes. In a situation where there are two parallel runways, it means that planes can arrive on one runway and depart from the other at the same time. This method of operation has a number of benefits for Brisbane, including maximising the number of flights into and out of Brisbane over Moreton Bay, particularly during noise sensitive times at night.
What other types of operational modes will be used?
While SODPROPs is the preferred method of operation for Brisbane Airport, other modes will be used including 19 Parallel and 01 Parallel. The ability to use any mode of operation is determined by safety. The factors that determine safety for arriving or departing aircraft are wind direction, visibility, cloud base and the number of aircraft in the vicinity of the airport.
Will new flight paths be developed?
Yes. The Federal Government through Airservices Australia and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority determines flight paths for aircraft arriving at and departing from Brisbane Airport. Flight paths are outlined in Volume D of the EIS/MDP. Further information on proposed future flights paths is available at http://bne.com.au/experience-centre.
Will air traffic increase as a result of the new runway?
Air traffic will increase only in accordance with demand generated by increased passenger movements and freight. The new generation of passenger aircraft are not only quieter but will be able to carry more passengers. The New Parallel Runway has been timed so that the essential infrastructure is in place to meet growing demand into the future.
Where will the sand come from for construction?
Around 13 million cubic metres of sand from Middle Banks in Moreton Bay will be used for the runway’s construction. Sand has been brought to the airport from Middle Banks on a number of occasions in the past. Middle Banks was the source of sand in the early 1980s when the airport was first built and again in the early 1990s as part of the construction of the International Terminal.
Will dredging sand from Middle Banks harm the environment?
The Queensland State Government’s Moreton Bay Sand Extraction Study (2005) examined the feasibility of using sand resources from the northern banks of the Bay for the supply of vital raw materials for several major infrastructure and development projects in the Australia TradeCoast area and for the construction sector.
From the total available sand resource in Moreton Bay of about 3,770 million cubic metres, the Government has decided that over the next 20 years it will support extraction of up to 40 million cubic metres (less than 1.1 per cent of the total sand resource) of sand for development of Australia TradeCoast projects, including the expansion of Brisbane Airport and the Port of Brisbane. The Study concluded that environmental impacts from sand extraction in the Bay were considered to be of a relatively minor and temporary nature. The Government’s study was supplemented by further studies undertaken by BAC for the New Parallel Runway, which was approved by the Australian Government in September 2007.
What does this first phase of works include?
The Civil Works planned for 2012 includes the construction of major new drainage and construction access, associated vegetation clearing, and minor work to Runway 14/32 (the smaller cross runway).
What impacts will there be on the surrounding community as a consequence of these works?
There should be little or no impact on our neighbours due to the significant buffer zone between the airport and surrounding suburbs.
Are flora and fauna going to be affected during these works?
Clearing of the runway site will occur and the impact of this loss of vegetation was outlined in the Environmental Impact Statement and assessed by the government as having minimal impact on ecology. However, all work that impacts on vegetation will be monitored and conducted under an Environmental Management Plan, which has strict requirements for minimising ecological impacts.
Are these works going to impact on flights into and out of Brisbane Airport?
During these works it’s business as usual at Brisbane Airport, however, during the closure of runway 14/32 (20 weeks) from mid-September to early February, all aircraft will use the main runway.
Is there going to be more construction-related traffic on the roads around the airport?
No, the clearing and mulching of vegetation will happen on site, reducing the number of vehicles required for this project with only some minimal increases for delivery of materials.
Furthermore, a construction management plan will be in place to monitor and manage all construction activities.
Is there someone I can contact if I have any questions or concerns about construction of the New Parallel Runway?
BAC encourages the community to contact the 1800 737 075 number if any construction-related issues arise and these will be addressed as a priority.
How long is this first phase of work going to take?
Phase 1 of civil works is anticipated to be complete by mid-2013.
Will I have the opportunity to submit a tender application for the NPR project?
The civil works contract has been let and other future NPR works are subject to closed tenders.