NPR Frequently Asked Questions
Why is a new runway needed?
Brisbane Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in Australia with more than 22 million passengers using the facility in 2014. Annual passenger numbers are expected to reach more than 50 million by 2034, 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 30 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 $3.8 billion worth of capacity-related infrastructure (including redevelopment of both the International and Domestic terminals) planned for the airport over the next decade. 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.
Phase 1 Civil Works and reclamation of the site has been completed. Works included drainage, clearing works, adjustments to the 14/32 runway, and pumping of 11 million cubic meters of sand onto the site.
Are any other runways planned for Brisbane Airport?
How will the runway be constructed?
Much of the eight-year construction time has involved preparing the site ahead of constructing the runway system pavements and airfield. Sand was extracted from Middle Banks in Moreton Bay to consolidate the site and will be left to settle for up to four years before the building of the runway can commence.
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 silt and mud.. 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 30 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 rather than over the city and suburbs.
'Over The Bay' Operations and '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 sufficiently far apart, 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. 'Over The Bay' operations are , however, dependant on favourable wind conditions with no more than a 10 knot downwind.
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 did the sand come from for the NPR?
Around 11 million cubic metres of sand was extracted from Middle Banks in Moreton Bay which is adjacent to BNE's main shipping channel. Sand has been brought to the airport from Middle Banks on a number of occasions in the past. including in the early 1980s when the current airport was first built and again in the early 1990s as part of the construction of the International Terminal.
Did 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 did this first phase of works include?
The Civil Works commenced in 2012 and included the construction of major new drainage and construction access, associated vegetation clearing, and minor work to Runway 14/32 (the smaller cross runway).
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 us on 1800 737 075 or firstname.lastname@example.org if any construction-related issues arise and these will be addressed as a priority.