Brisbane’s new runway turns one

Ribbon cutting

Monday 12 July 2021: Brisbane Airport’s most significant infrastructure project of the last decade, its new parallel runway, turns one today.

Twelve months ago, on Sunday 12 July 2020, Runway 01L/19R was declared open for business with an official ribbon cutting ceremony and aerobatics display.

Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said that while opening a major piece of new aviation infrastructure during an historic downturn in global aviation was never part of the plan, the runway would ultimately prove to have been an invaluable investment in the future of Queensland.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been extremely difficult for the aviation industry, as well as the whole community, but we have never lost sight of the fact that this project has been built for the long-term. It will serve people well for many decades to come.

“Brisbane’s new runway was built because the city and the state needed it. As the airport operator we have an obligation to ensure that when airlines and people need access at the airport, they can get it,” Mr de Graaff said.

Recognising the importance of the new runway, recent community sentiment research results show:

  • Seventy-four per cent (74%) of Brisbane residents agree that the new runway will have economic benefits for the community;
  • Seventy-one per cent (71%) of Brisbane residents agree that the new runway will help create more jobs in our community; and,
  • Seventy-nine per cent (79%) of Brisbane residents agree that the new runway is essential to avoiding delays to flights in and out of Brisbane Airport in the future.


The research was undertaken by Enhance in March and April this year, with 1,002 residents surveyed across five electorates of greater Brisbane: Brisbane, Griffith, Lilley, Moreton, and Ryan.

“At the opening last year, I said that travel is at the heart of modern society and the human need to explore and to connect means that ultimately nothing will keep us grounded forever. That is still my belief,” Mr de Graaff said.

“Brisbane Airport, and this new runway, will play a leading part in ensuring Brisbane and Queensland have the infrastructure and mechanisms in place to not just recover from COVID-19, but to prosper.”


Queensland Premier and Minister for Trade, the Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk:

“Brisbane Airport is a vital gateway for people and freight, and a vital part of Queensland’s Economic recovery.

“When we emerge from the pandemic the added capacity of the second runway will see our recovery take off.”


Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner:

"Prior to the pandemic, momentum for Brisbane as a tourist destination was building, and passenger numbers were predicted to double from 24 million to 50 million over the next 20 years.

 "While this progress has been temporarily put on hold, it was important for us to continue to invest in the infrastructure that will future-proof our growing city; and that's exactly what Brisbane Airport's second runway has done.

"At full flight, this runway will help put Brisbane back on its pre-pandemic growth path by offering better connectivity and a direct link to our local businesses, exporters and emerging major innovation, technology, investment and corporate hubs.

"Congratulations on reaching this significant milestone."


Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Innovation and Minister for Sport, the Hon. Stirling Hinchliffe:

“Brisbane Airport’s parallel runway is transformational infrastructure that will help underwrite Queensland’s growth.

“On the first anniversary of the opening of the new runway, there’s a lot to celebrate for the future.

“We know the capacity of the new runway will be critical in the months ahead as we rebuild tourism better for the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

“As the capital of Australia’s most decentralised State, Brisbane needs the reliability and efficiency of two runways to grow major events, tourism and trade.

“And that’s exactly what Brisbane Airport Corporation has delivered.

“The importance of Brisbane’s world-class airside facilities will become even more apparent if the International Olympic Committee awards Queensland the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”


Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane:

“I commended the BAC’s second runway for increasing the efficiency of on-time flight arrivals and departures – a welcome improvement for the thousands of resource industry FIFO workers who use it every day.

“Queensland’s resources industry has been one of the biggest users of Brisbane Airport over the past year. In fact, at times during the pandemic, up to 80 percent of the flights using Brisbane Airport were to and from resource industry centres. 

“On-time arrivals and departures mean more time on the job and more time back with their families.”


Virgin Australia Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka:

"Virgin Australia is proud to have called Queensland home for more than two decades and we commend the investments made in the new runway which will continue to make Queensland a great place to live, holiday or do business, well into the future.

"We were delighted to be the first airline to depart from the new parallel runway a year ago, and since then, we’ve had more than 8,600 flights arrive and depart from this runway.

"Despite the challenges of the last 12 months, we know that when we all come out of this, our sector will be stronger and better than ever, and in the best position to rebuild to a strong future."


Lee Schofield, CEO of Alliance Airlines:

“The new parallel runway is an impressive piece of infrastructure and is instrumental in Alliance Airlines’ plans for the future.

“Although the first year of operation has coincided with the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, as the industry comes out of this period the benefits of the runway will really come to the fore.

“For Alliance this means continuing to contribute to the growth of the resources sector and being able to provide additional services to the tourism and leisure sector.”


Geoff Hogg, Chief Casino Officer Qld, The Star Entertainment Group: 

“Brisbane Airport’s second runway is one of the exciting tourism infrastructure developments that will help drive Queensland’s post-COVID tourism recovery.

“The increased capacity will allow Brisbane to handle more flights, which is a massive boon to tourism operators like The Star.

“Our Queen’s Wharf project, delivered in conjunction with joint venture partners, will attract more than 1.3 million additional visitors to the State.

“That increased airport capacity will be vital when international borders reopen and Queensland looks to secure an increased market share of inbound visitors.”


Suncorp Stadium General Manager Alan Graham:

“Suncorp Stadium shares a wonderful collaborative relationship with BAC. As two major pieces of the city infrastructure, it is important for the community and the economy that we work together to bring world class content to Brisbane.

“The opening of the second runway has really put the city on the world stage and has opened up so many new opportunities to encourage international and interstate travel to Brisbane for major events at Suncorp Stadium.”