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The key to Australia

Posted: 2 October 2012 | Julieanne Alroe, CEO and Managing Director, Brisbane Airport Corporation | No comments yet

Brisbane Airport is the third largest airport in Australia on passenger numbers and the premier gateway to the state of Queensland. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is Australia’s largest capital city airport (by land size) and has two major terminals providing services to 27 airlines flying to 43 national and 29 international destinations. In the last financial year (2011/12), Brisbane Airport welcomed more than 21 million passengers, nearly the equivalent of the entire population of Australia, through its terminals.

Brisbane Airport is operated by Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), a proud, private, nonlisted Queensland company, helping employ thousands of Queenslanders and creating economic benefits nation-wide.

To meet growing passenger demand, BAC is funding over $2.5 billion worth of infrastructure over the next 10 years, including a new parallel runway, a new multi-level car park and walkway facilities, road terminal expansions, road upgrades and a number of new commercial buildings.

Brisbane Airport is the third largest airport in Australia on passenger numbers and the premier gateway to the state of Queensland. Operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is Australia’s largest capital city airport (by land size) and has two major terminals providing services to 27 airlines flying to 43 national and 29 international destinations. In the last financial year (2011/12), Brisbane Airport welcomed more than 21 million passengers, nearly the equivalent of the entire population of Australia, through its terminals.

Brisbane Airport is operated by Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), a proud, private, nonlisted Queensland company, helping employ thousands of Queenslanders and creating economic benefits nation-wide.

To meet growing passenger demand, BAC is funding over $2.5 billion worth of infrastructure over the next 10 years, including a new parallel runway, a new multi-level car park and walkway facilities, road terminal expansions, road upgrades and a number of new commercial buildings.

Approximately 20,000 people currently work at the airport precinct every day – this number is expected to exceed 50,000 by 2029. There are already over 420 businesses at the airport, servicing a diverse range of industries, within which tens of thousands are either directly or indirectly reliant on airport activity as a source of employment.

BAC has a vision for Brisbane Airport; to be the world’s best and the preferred choice for passengers, airlines, businesses and the community. Through this, BAC has created a prosperous airport business community within a sustainable environment (including a major multimodal transport hub), focused on achieving growth and development by balancing economic benefits and environmental impacts.

24-hour operations

Good planning and inter-government cooperation means Brisbane Airport enjoys the best buffer zone in Australia, enabling the airport to operate 24 hours a day with sustainable environmental impacts for the Brisbane comm – unity. Curfew-free operations is a key attraction for many businesses setting up in the region, helping to create additional investment, jobs and economic growth in Queensland, while also positioning Brisbane as a global city that is open and accessible for business. Brisbane Airport is surrounded by natural and industrial boundaries, with Moreton Bay, bush and parklands, waterways and industrial areas providing effective separation to residential areas.

Major infrastructure projects

Brisbane Airport has the largest land mass of any Australian capital city airport (occupying 2,700 hectares) and with this size comes great opportunities to develop an exciting business and retail community, coupled with a significant responsibility to provide functional infrastructure to support growth and operations.

BAC already owns and maintains more than 50km of road network, making it the largest privately maintained road network in Australia. Sustained growth and unique business oppor tunities have encouraged BAC to invest in significant and varied infrastructure through a long-term infrastructure investment programme. Since 2007, BAC has rolled out a $4.2 billion major infrastructure programme – one of Australia’s largest privately funded public infrastructure programmes. $620 million has already been spent on a Central Parking Area for taxis and ground transport operators, an expansion of its International Terminal and the construction of a new major access road into the airport (Moreton Drive).

In addition to numerous smaller construction projects, there are currently two major projects in the delivery phase: the New Parallel Runway (NPR) and the domestic terminal expansion.

New Parallel Runway

Brisbane Airport is about to embark on one of Queensland’s most exciting and anticipated infrastructure projects, with work on the $1.3 billion New Parallel Runway (NPR) project starting in September 2012. It will be the first new major runway planned and built in Australia for decades, and will be among very few privately built runways in the world. It will take eight years to build, with first flights expected to touch down in 2020.

While the construction of the pavements, taxiways and airfield infrastructure represent the visible components of the project, these will only start to come to life from 2018. The prior six years will be spent preparing the site, with much of that time devoted to consolidating underlying soft soils to create a solid platform for the runway.

The runway will be 3,300m-long and will include more than 12km of taxiway system. The project is expected to generate approximately 2,700 jobs during construction, leading to as many as 7,800 jobs within the region by 2035. Its economic contribution to the south-east Queensland region has been estimated at $5 billion per year by 2035.

It’s an ambitious undertaking but it has been roundly endorsed as the key to ensure Brisbane Airport can cater for passenger demand likely to reach 50 million by 2035. The runway is designed to maximise the potential for ‘over-the-bay’ operations, which is a key part of BAC’s strategy in managing noise impacts and working collaboratively with neighbouring communities.

Domestic terminal expansion

Approximately 75 per cent of all of Brisbane Airport’s passenger traffic is domestic and these numbers are predicted to increase to around 33.3 million passengers by 2028/29.

The domestic terminal expansion project commenced in 2010 and includes a new nine-level short-term car park (the largest single-structure car park in the southern hemisphere), a satellite terminal upgrade, expansion to terminal aprons, elevated pedestrian Skywalk between the car parks and the terminal, and reconfiguration of the terminal road network. These projects have been progressively delivered over the last two years, with the final piece being the road network reconfiguration, completed in September 2012.

The new $180 million nine-level car park at the domestic terminal provides more than 5,000 new undercover car parks, bringing the total number of car park spaces within the Domestic Terminal Precinct to around 9,000.

Opened in February 2012, the undercover elevated ‘Skywalk’ connects the car parks and Airtrain platform directly to the terminal face. The Skywalk passes over the terminal road system and includes lifts, travelators and escalators to take passengers to the ground immediately outside the Domestic Terminal. The aim of the skywalk is to separate pedestrians from car traffic, creating a safer environment, while reducing congestion on the terminal road system.

Opened in September 2012, the new Public Pick-up Area is a standout feature of the access upgrade. The Public Pick-up Area will reduce terminal road congestion by separating the pickup and drop-off vehicle traffic and offering the longest fee-free terminal pickup area of any Australian capital city airport (20 minutes).

More than functional infrastructure

As an advocate for the development of the state’s cultural programmes, BAC often takes the opportunity to utilise its impressive infrastructure to promote social and cultural activities occurring in Queensland.

In recent times, this has included supporting the Queensland Arts Industry through an art exhibition dispersed across Brisbane Airport grounds titled ‘Art with Altitude’. Given the scale of the infrastructure and the high traffic numbers through the terminals, this provides exposure opportunities for modern art that simply could not be achieved in other areas.

The recent collaboration with American Artist Ned Kahn resulted in a landmark eightstorey, 5,000m² kinetic façade for the Domestic Terminal Car Park titled ‘Turbulent line’. Viewed from the exterior, the car park’s entire eastern side appears to ripple fluidly as the wind activates 250,000 suspended aluminium panels. As it responds to the ever-changing patterns of the wind, the façade creates a direct interface between the built and natural environments.

Master planning

With 1,000 hectares of land available for property development, the airport’s property master plan has incredible scope for creating both a worldclass gateway for Australia and a prosperous, socially and environmentally responsible airport business community.

There are more than 420 businesses at the airport, in a wide range of industries, including retail, health services, educational facilities, accommodation, child care, offices and industrial and commercial outlets.

The educational and training precinct is an example of innovative use of airport land to meet wider economic objectives. This precinct helps to meet the objective of the Queensland Government to create high-tech, high-value jobs for young Australians, in a unique, world-class training environment. The Virgin Australia/Boeing flight simulator training facility is also based at the airport and is home to Queensland University of Technologies’ (QUT) research and development facility for Unmanned Aeronautical Vehicles, as well as a range of other leading edge education, research and training facilities.

BAC goes through a process of extensive community, local government and stakeholder engagement in order to produce and release a new Master Plan every five years. The next Master Plan will be released in 2014.

Research and development

BAC has established a unique research collaboration with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) over the last 12 years.

This partnership supports BAC’s research and development objectives while the airport provides a ‘living laboratory’ for QUT to undertake real world research in many diverse fields of study. BAC and QUT have partnered in over 35 projects with funding from Government and industry amounting to $10 million.

BAC and QUT are conducting a world first research project into the relationships between airports and their urban surroundings, across Australia and internationally. This $2.8 million project is a unique collaboration between the community, industry, universities and all levels of Australian government.

QUT is also undertaking a new Australianfirst research project investigating improvements in terminal design, passenger facilitation and security and aimed at the worldwide delivery of ‘Airports of the Future’.

Sustainable planning and operations

The sustainability policy and vision for Brisbane Airport is based on the four pillars of sustainability identified for airports: economic, environmental, operational and social. Each activity undertaken at the airport, including all construction projects, are viewed through a sustainability lens, which has led to some significant achieve – ments, including:

  • Creation of a 285 hectare Biodiversity Zone that incorporates a range of habitats, including mangroves, salt marsh and freshwater wetlands
  • Reducing potable water consumption across the airport by more than 70 per cent through a sustainable water management programme that was recognised as one of the best in the world
  • Recycling 231 tonnes of materials in the Domestic and International Terminals
  • Implementing a wildlife hazard management plan to reduce wildlife the chance of strikes with aircraft
  • Working with Brisbane City Council to bring more bus services to the airport
  • A roll out of extended cycling networks
  • An energy reduction plan for high demand areas including the Domestic and International Terminals
  • Installation of solar panels on BAC’s Head – quarter building
  • Designating the international terminal as a plastic shopping bag-free area, avoiding the use of one million bags each year
  • Achieving over 80 per cent satisfaction in the annual staff survey through a range of team building initiatives
  • Forming meaningful partnerships with local community and industry groups
  • Implementation of continuity plans for critical assets and ongoing enhancements to the compliance framework.

Collaboration and partnerships

Brisbane airport strives to create strong and meaningful relationships with its stakeholders, business partners and communities.

The Brisbane Airport Community Engagement Programme has been established to generate informed, ongoing and interactive discussion on airport development, aircraft technologies, potential amenity impacts from increased aircraft operations, and airspace management processes. To ensure this interaction is effective and well managed, BAC has established a number of reference groups containing leading industry and community representatives.

As a conscientious corporate citizen, the airport contributes more than $1.5 million a year in sponsorship to community services such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the RACQ Careflight Helicopter as well as supporting numerous other aid, charitable and cultural endeavours.

 

About the author

Julieanne Alroe was appointed to the position of CEO and Managing Director at BAC in July 2009. In addition to this role, Julieanne currently holds board positions with Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited, Australia TradeCoast and the International Grammar School in Sydney and Tourism Queensland.

Prior to this recent appointment, Julieanne developed extensive experience within the aviation industry after holding a number of roles at Sydney Airport Corporation. These roles included executive management positions in the commercial, operations, corporate affairs, and planning and infrastructure departments.

Previous board appointments include the position of Chairman of Airports Coordination Australia Ltd and Airports Council International Safety and Technical Standing Committee.

Julieanne has a Bachelor of Economics degree from the University of Queensland and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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