From early 2020, the aviation industry faces major repercussions worldwide due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, including international and interstate border closures.
In June 2020, a new airfield bridge was officially opened and named after John Hansford, who worked at Brisbane Airport for 51 years.
Brisbane’s new runway was officially opened in July 2020.
In April 2021, BAC’s net zero carbon target is approved.
In August 2021, Brisbane Airport is awarded the Best Airport Staff in Australia/Pacific at the global Skytrax World Airport Awards.
On 29 April 2011 the upgraded and expanded Central Area Satellite at the Domestic Terminal was officially opened by Acting Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan.
In August 2011, the airport precinct is recognised in its own right with official confirmation the area will be called the suburb of ‘Brisbane Airport’
Brisbane Airport opens largest single-structure car park in the southern hemisphere.
$12 million BNE service centre opens in July 2014.
November 2014, Brisbane Airport facilitated the arrivals and departures of 26 World Leaders for G20 with 100 per cent safety and exceptional on time performance. It was the most important logistical event of BNE history.
Brisbane Airport named 2014 Capital City Airport of the Year at the Australian Airport Association awards.
June 2015, AIRPARK is opened.
BAC is named Corporate Philanthropist of the Year by the Queensland Community Foundation.
BAC unveils 750 metre long ‘Sensory Hug’ by acclaimed Indigenous artist, the late Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori.
In October 2015, the $45 million International Terminal Redevelopment is officially opened.
Brisbane Airport is voted Best Airport (Australia/Pacific) at the 2016 global Skytrax World Airport Awards.
BAC becomes the first airport corporation to formally commit to celebrating and promoting the traditions, laws and customs of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders, with the launch of its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Brisbane Airport is named Australasia's Leading Airport, in the 23rd World Travel Awards.
BAC releases first sustainability report.
December 2016 the refurbished General Aviation Building is officially opened.
Brisbane Airport is named Australia's first Dementia friendly Airport by Alzheimer's Australia.
Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay touches down at BNE in December 2017, prior to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
In April 2018, the $135m expansion of the northern International Terminal and Apron is officially opened by The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Acting Prime Minister.
In September 2018, the $120m Dryandra Road Underpass is delivered by McConnell Dowell. It marks the completion of the first portion of the critical link taxiways that connect the new runway to the existing runway and terminals.
2019 is a record-breaking year for passenger numbers, with 24.1 million passengers passing through the airport.
The aviation industry faces major repercussions worldwide following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, New York.
Airtrain rail services begin linking the airport to the CBD and the Gold Coast.
In 2005, Brisbane Airport Corporation announced a program of $1.5 billion for future Terminal, car park, road and runway infrastructure.
In 2007, Brisbane's New Runway construction project is approved by The Federal Government.
On 3 December 2008, after two years of construction and an investment of more than $340 million, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) unveils its expanded International Terminal. The expansion included around 33,000 additional square metres of space across the four floors of the Terminal, and expanded and reconfigured airline processing, retail, customs, security and baggage areas. The redeveloped Terminal was officially opened by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh officially opens Brisbane Airport’s second major access road, Moreton Drive, on 2 December 2009.
In January 1990 site planning for a new International Terminal commences.
On 5 September 1995, Prime Minister Paul Keating officially opens Brisbane Airport’s new International Terminal.
Commonwealth legislation passes allowing the privatisation of major Australian airports.
On 1 July 1997 Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) purchases Brisbane Airport from the Federal Government for $1.4 billion under a 50 year lease with an option to renew a further 49 years. Under this unique leasehold tenure, BAC retains ownership and control of the airport in its entirety for the duration of the lease term up to 2096.
5 June 1980, the first ‘symbolic’ sod marking the commencement of the construction of the new Brisbane Airport is turned by Prime Minister Malcom Fraser. The total expenditure of building the new airport was expected to be $300 million with completion expected in 1986. The actual cost to build the airport was $425 million.14 million cubic metres of sand dredged from Moreton Bay is used to stabilise the otherwise swampy land for the new Terminals, aprons, taxiways and runway.
24 May 1987, the new Brisbane Airport runway and tower is commissioned for operations.
18 November 1987, Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith’s iconic ‘Southern Cross’ aircraft is moved from Amberley RAAF base to its current location at the Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith Memorial, opposite the International Terminal on Airport Drive. It had been at Amberley since 1958.
30 November 1987 at 12.15pm the first commercial departure from the new Brisbane Airport runway took off. It was a Qantas Boeing 747-238B VH-EBJ operating QF27 SYD-BNE-HKG with 410 passengers. Take-Off Weight: 331010 kgs on Runway 01.
19 March 1988, Prime Minister Bob Hawke officially opened the new Brisbane ‘International’ Airport in time for the World Expo being hosted in Brisbane.
20 March 1988 at 2.45pm the last departure from the Old Airport took off on Runway 4. It was a special charter Ansett Boeing 767-277 VH-RME. The flight returned to the new Brisbane Airport.
February 1971 a joint committee comprised of members of the Australian government, the Queensland Government, and the Brisbane City Council recommended the construction of a new airport. This new site, five kilometres north of the existing site, necessitated the resumption of 60 houses in Lander’s Pocket and Lower Nudgee, some land from the Nudgee Golf Course and virtually all of the residential settlement at Cribb Island, famously known as a childhood home of Bee Gees pop stars Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb.
16 December 1971 an announcement to devise a master plan for the future Brisbane Airport was announced by PM William McMahon and Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen. This master plan included the long term planning of a wide-spaced parallel runway system in a north-south alignment.
Planning for the new Brisbane Airport and International Terminal commenced.
Over the next decade more than 900 people were relocated from Cribb Island before construction began on the new Brisbane Airport.
December 1975, the new (temporary) International Terminal was opened with the designers’ spruiking it could service 240 arriving passengers and 240 departing passengers simultaneously at 20-minute intervals. The first departure was QF956 with 134 passengers to Christchurch with the first arrival by Air New Zealand from Auckland with 33 passengers.
The popularisation of air travel confirms the need for a new airport facility, resulting in 2,700 hectares of land was set aside for a new Brisbane Airport site.
The Beatles were notable visitors to Brisbane Airport in 1964 arriving to thousands of screaming fans.
Princess Marina Duchess of Kent stopped over in 1964.
In the 1950s Brisbane Airport occupied an area of around 4,000 acres. Two Terminal buildings housed the domestic carriers Ansett and Trans Australia Airlines, while a third catered for all international services. All three of these Terminal buildings were wartime igloos erected to house military aircraft assembly and testing plants.
The airport had a number of well-known visitors this decade, including Queen Elizabeth on her 1954 tour of Australia.
Shortly after the entrance of Australia into World War II, the grazing lease over the Eagle Farm Aerodrome was terminated by the Commonwealth Government. Eagle Farm was then used by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) for training purposes until early 1942.
The area housed a number of Military camps. United States military personnel constructed two (and later a third) hard surface runways to replace the former grassed land fields.
This site was a part of an extensive series of airports and fields hastily constructed throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory during the War, in order to defend the nation and provide a launching pad for allied military forces back into Asia.
Eagle Farm was intended to act as a service and assembly facility for three to four thousand allied aircraft during the War.
With the urgent need for Terminal buildings, M.R. Hornibrook and Company was commissioned to erect a number of timber truss igloo structures.
The Australian subsidiary of the General Motors Company, General Motors-Holden Limited, was contracted in 1942 in to establish an overhaul and assembly plant in an igloo warehouse at Breakfast Creek.
August 1945 - the 6 HAA Batteries were decommissioned, including the 388th Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) Battery based established at the airport. Remnant sites from World War Two still present include an American built runway at the airport, and heritage-listed Hangar No. 7 and the former Allison Testing Stands in Eagle Farm.
In 1947, after WWII, Eagle Farm assumed the role of principal airport for Brisbane under the control of the Commonwealth, using the sealed runways and infrastructure built by the Americans
29 May 1930 British aviator Amy Johnson, in her DH-60G Gipsy Moth G-AAAH "Jason" became the first woman to fly solo from Britain, landing and famously crashing her aircraft at Eagle Farm. Miss Johnson was attempting to beat Australian Aviator, Bert Hinkler's record of London to Australia in 15 ½ days.
January 1931 flight operations at Eagle Farm ceased with the site being considered too swampy. It was used for grazing land until the onset of World War II.
18 July 1935, Kingsford Smith gifted ‘Southern Cross’ to the nation in a ceremony at Richmond aerodrome. It was held in storage for decades, before a 1955 Federal cabinet decision gifted the historic aircraft to the state of Queensland in recognition of Kingsford Smith’s birth place in Brisbane. The original ‘Southern Cross’ aircraft is now located on permanent public display at the Kingsford Smith Memorial on Airport Drive, opposite Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s many of the Cribb Island shack owners abandoned the area, and a number of unemployed families took up residence.
In 1922 Captain Edgar C. Johnston, Federal Superintendent of Aerodromes, chose a location owned by two farmers (David Wilson and William Lynn) for development as a government Aerodrome. The 32 ha Eagle Farm aerodrome was set up west of Schneider Rd.
December 1922 Captain Jack Treacy, a World War I pilot, was the first to land his Sunbeam Avro aircraft, The Queen of Sheba, at Eagle Farm.
Early 1925, 36 hectares of agricultural land at Eagle Farm (located 6 km (3.7 mi) north-east of Brisbane or 5 km (3.1 mi) south-west of Brisbane Airport's current Domestic Terminal) was acquired by the Commonwealth Government as the site for Brisbane’s first airport.
April 1925, the aerodrome at Eagle Farm opened under the control of the Civil Aviation Branch of the Department of Defence.
1928, Sir Charles Kingsford Smith with co-pilot Charles Ulm, wireless operator James Warner and navigator Harry Lyon, were the first to fly across the Pacific Ocean from the United States of America to Australia in the aircraft ‘Southern Cross’. They landed at Eagle Farm on 9 June 1928, greeted by a crowd of 25,000 people. The flight had taken 21 hours 21 minutes from Suva, Fiji to Brisbane.
1928 Bert Hinkler completes the first solo flight from England landing at Eagle Farm Racecourse.
1800s to 1920
In the 1820s, the area that is now the Brisbane Airport began to be developed for use by the early European settlers.
The Eagle Farm Agricultural Reserve was established in 1829 in the vicinity of what is now the airport control tower. The farm was created to supply the fledgling Moreton Bay penal colony, which was established in 1824. By 1932, the land was used to farm maize, potatoes, cattle and pigs.
Eagle Farm Agricultural Reserve became the main penal establishment for female convicts by 1837. They helped to build the road to Breakfast Creek, which follows the same route as Sir Kingsford Smith Drive does today. All female convicts were removed from Eagle Farm by July 1839, but the site continued to function as a government cattle station until as late as 1841.
The settlement of ‘Cribb Island’ (which was located in what is now the most northern section of the Brisbane Airport) began on 10 June 1863 when Mr John George Cribb purchased 156 acres of swampy crown land past Eagle Farm for £160. He cultivated bananas, pineapples, watermelons, peanuts and cotton.
In 1842, following free settlement, Eagle Farm was among the first places to be subdivided into lots for agriculture. An 1842 map shows that William Pitt Trevelyan, a former captain in the 93rd Highlanders bought land that contained the former female compound and stockyards. Another section was renamed Hollinorth Farm.
The construction of the Brisbane to Sandgate railway line in 1882 and the Pinkenba line in 1897 encouraged an influx of people, which stimulated industrial and agricultural growth.
Cribb Island became a popular seaside location, being one of the closest sea bathing beaches to Brisbane. The area was popular with retirees, and a number of people built small shacks as ‘weekenders’.
In 1905 the Eagle Farm State School (later renamed Hendra State School) reported an enrolment of 156 boys and 116 girls demonstrating that a significant number of residents lived in the area.
The land on which Brisbane Airport operates has a long and rich indigenous heritage.
The Turrbal people occupied the country from Logan to North Pine, and as far west as Moggill Creek.
Bora Rings (ceremonial grounds) are believed to have been used at Brisbane Airport and would have still been in use at the time of European Settlement.
The area is also known to have been the location for transient camps, including some at Cribb Island and Myrtletown.