The lowdown on Brisbane Airport’s second runway

After eight long years, 11 million cubic metres of dredged sand, 100,000 tonnes of asphalt and a $1.1 billion price tag, Brisbane Airport’s second runway was quietly completed in recent days.

It might seem like odd timing, given the coronavirus crisis, but the runway is poised to start accepting aircraft from July with domestic tourists the first passengers likely to land – followed by our Kiwi cousins at some point potentially later this year.

Admittedly, the timing is not the best, given the current mass grounding of aircraft, but it won’t always be that way.

So, that temporary hiccup aside, this massive infrastructure project means big things for Brisbane and southeast Queensland more broadly in various ways for many decades to come.

Project ins and outs

I remember way back when talk about the new runway first began.

It was in the late 2000s and the first steps in a long project were just being taken – 2020 seemed like a very long way away.

But after years of planning and consultation, construction officially began in 2012, and was completed in late April this year.

One of the reasons why it took so long is that it’s not as simple as building a long road.

The second runway required five million cubic metres of earthworks to be undertaken, the dredging and transportation of sand from Moreton Island, 1.2 million tonnes of quarry products and 675 workers on site at any given time.

And in a milestone that’s rarely seen in public infrastructure spending – it came in $200,000 under budget.

What it means for real estate

Capacity at Brisbane Airport is about to dramatically improve from July onwards.

If you’ve ever tried to return home on a busy Friday evening and spent 45 minutes circling the city above thanks to air traffic congestion, you’ll be relieved.

When fully operational, the airport will leap from 50 aircraft movements an hour to 110 movements. That’s significant.

It means more flights arriving and departing on time, of course, but it means more flights in general.

A note for residents under new flight paths – that doubling in capacity won’t happen overnight.

It’ll be very gradual, slowly staggered and well-managed, based on years of community consultation.

New flight paths will be activated – but still using the existing runway – for testing and fine-tuning.

Departing planes will fly over Hamilton and the Portside development, before heading over Bulimba and New Farm before turning towards the city and St Lucia.

Some residents may notice the noise. There’s a mapping tool available where you can plug in your address and see what it means for your suburb.

But the greater capacity is fantastic news for the Queensland tourism market – especially post-coronavirus.

It’ll bring more tourists to Brisbane, the southeast and the rest of the state.

And more tourists mean a greater injection into the economy, which is good news for everyone.

Yet, it’s not just tourism. It’s cafes and restaurants, the retail sector and transport.

There are so many flow-on benefits to the economy – with a previous estimate of $5 billion annually – from increased numbers of visitors to our beautiful state.

A growing and robust economy means more jobs and increased demand, which will see Queensland’s population growth projections remain healthy.

A growing population means more demand for housing, which will benefit current and future property investors, homeowners who will eventually look to sell and upgrade, and of course the residential construction sector.

It’s pretty incredible to imagine what one 3.3 kilometre stretch of road can do, isn’t it?

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