Brisbane Airport’s (BNE) new runway opened on July 12 with home carrier Virgin Australia having the honour of performing the first departure, flying to Cairns.
Following an official ribbon cutting on the runway, invited VIP guests gathered airside with 150 Brisbane Airport Corporation staff and ten local aircraft enthusiasts, who won a place at the event in a lucky draw, to watch the first aircraft movements and sky show.
In a first for an Australian capital city airport, the airspace above BNE was briefly closed to allow a display by ‘Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights’, a Brisbane-based private aircraft collection and flight experience company specialising in warbird operations.
Harking back to Brisbane Airport’s historical past, the great nephew of pioneer Australian aviator Bert Hinkler, Mitch Palm, joined the celebrations.
A copy of the local newspaper, The Sunday Mail, was the last item added to a special time capsule, along with items donated by schools, elected officials, and members of the public. The sealed time capsule will be stored on display at BNE’s adjacent Kingsford-Smith Memorial until it is opened in 2070.
BAC CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff said, “It is with great pride we are commissioning Brisbane’s 01L/19R runway, announcing it open for business.
“This is more than just a formality and a slab of very expensive asphalt. When I look at that 3.3 kilometre stretch of runway, I see hope.
“I see hope because I believe, absolutely, that travel is at the heart of modern society and the human need to explore means that ultimately nothing will keep us grounded forever.
“While current world challenges mean less demand right now, the timing of this opening is fortuitous. Had we been any later, the project may have been delayed significantly creating more burden on the economy and dampening our spirits further.
“Instead Brisbane is an ideal position to take advantage of all opportunities on the road to recovery from COVID.
“We are making history. We are creating the future. And very soon, once again, we will be connecting the world.
“We are generating the jobs of tomorrow. We are reuniting people. We are creating new opportunities. We are fuelling the economy.
“And best of all, we are providing hope and inspiration. This runway is a beacon of hope for a very bright future. Our immediate future. The future of generations to come.
“A future we are ready for. A future we welcome and a future our community deserves.
“I acknowledge and thank every one of the thousands of people involved in the project.
“From those 50 years ago, who had the foresight to include this runway in their planning, to those involved in the design and construction over the last two decades.
“This runway is your legacy. You should be incredibly proud.”