Brisbane’s new runway is a project that has been five decades in the planning, with approvals commencing in 2005 and construction in 2012. Over the last eight years the site has evolved from Australia's largest sandpit to become Australia's most efficient runway system from Sunday 12 July 2020.
Brisbane Airport was on track for one mammoth year, strong passenger forecasts, a new runway and a community festival and fun run to celebrate this momentous time in our history. When COVID-19 turned our lives upside down, not only did we need to cancel our planned celebrations, we needed to find a new way to work and operate our terminals and to complete construction and the Operational Readiness and Testing phase of Brisbane's new runway in a socially distant way.
Ben Garnett, Deputy Project Manager for Brisbane's new runway summed it up perfectly.
"Something that has been a challenge over the last weeks and months is the COVID situation. It has really changed how we worked to reach practical completion of Brisbane's new runway. It's really changed how we've had to focus and consider the additional safety for the people that needed to be on site - our essential workers. We definitely changed how we approached our work, we rescheduled, we moved to an online Microsoft Teams environment, if we had to be out here in the airfield, it meant multiple vehicles and separation of people. I think we have been very fortunate to adapt and finalise the construction ahead of time despite the hurdles."
No matter how we got here, we did it. Brisbane's new runway is a key piece of infrastructure for our city and our state, future proofing the global gateway to Queensland and connecting Brisbane to the world. We are ready to facilitate the movement of people and Sunday 12 July 2020 is just the beginning.
Brisbane's new runway begins... Now.
Re-watch the livestream:
P.S - Thank you everyone for your patience, while we got the livestream sorted. We got there in the end.
Plane spotters reporting from airside
Ten plane spotters and photography enthusiasts won the opportunity to be on an airside tour to be there and capture the first departure and first arrival on Runway 19R/01L.
One of our winners, Fi Edmond was super excited by the opportunity:
"The opportunity to be part of and to capture something from a moment in history is a once in a lifetime experience. To be able to be up close and personal with the fast n loud aircraft, which are such amazing feats of technology and seeing them rise up off the ground and travel such long distances with people and cargo inside, is truly remarkable.
"I'm always after something that isn't the usual - so whether it be some detail of the plane as it lands or departs or maybe I will even be lucky enough to get a wave and a smile from the pilot on this wonderful new runway construction. I've already got one pilot waving to me from a previous time at the Acacia Street Loop so I hope to be able add another to my collection"
Virgin Australia will be the first airline to depart on Brisbane’s new runway marking the anniversary of the very first flight between Brisbane and Tropical North Queensland by Barrier Reef Airways which took off 73 years to the day on 12 July 1947. Virgin Australia will operate a Boeing 737 aircraft between Brisbane and Cairns.
In an Australian first for a capital city airport an uninhibited, spectacular aerobatics show of four historic aircraft conducted a flyover of Brisbane’s new runway in a nod to BNE’s military history.
Four historic aircraft, symbolic of the long history of aviation in Brisbane, including the origins of Eagle Farm Aerodrome (now Brisbane Airport), flew in V-formation led by a L-39 Albatros jet followed by a P-51D Mustang, Spitfire MkXVI and CAC Wirraway aircraft.
The Spitfire was the first to land on Runway 01L/19R.
The aerobatics show was delivered by Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights – a Brisbane based company that specialises in warbird operations.
Playlist: A history lesson on Brisbane's new runway
Watch how far we've come with the Brisbane's new runway project over the years: