ADELAIDE – Virgin Australia made history today, being the first airline to depart off Brisbane Airport’s newest parallel runway.

Velocity 781 bound for Cairns this morning departed off Brisbane Airport’s new parallel runway. The Boeing 737-8FE registered as VH-YFW departed off runway 01L at 11:15am, passing through a water canon created by the airport emergency vehicles whilst taxiing to the runway.

The aircraft was piloted by Captain John Ridd and First Officer Troy Parker. The flight to Cairns commemorates the 73rd anniversary of flights from Brisbane to remote Queensland airfields.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-8FE VH-YFW departing Adelaide Airport. Photo: Mitch Coad.

Brisbane Airport

Brisbane Airport is the 3rd largest airport in Australia with over 24 million passengers in 2019. The airfield is serviced by 31 airlines and is a hub for Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia, and Alliance Airlines. Brisbane Airport sees passengers from Asia, the United States, the Middle East, New Zealand, and from across Australia.

The Federal Government has announced that Brisbane Airport will be constructed immediately northeast of Eagle Farm Airport. Leighton Contractors built the new airport, and in 1988 it opened with a new domestic terminal and two runways.

The new airport was built on Cribb Island ‘s former residential suburb of Brisbane, which had been demolished to make way for the airport. Large amounts of sand were drained from nearby Moreton Bay to lift the swampland above the level of the tides.

Brisbane Airport’s newest airport under construction (left side of the airfield) in May 2019. Photo: Zoom Maps.

The Runway

16 years in the making, the $1.3 billion project begun in 2012 and employed over 3700 people throughout the construction period.

The runway measures 3300m in length and has a width of 60 meters. The new runway 01L/19R is 260m shorter than the existing runway 01R/19L.

The project required a staggering 100,000 tons of asphalt and takes up an area of 360ha. The new runway aims to double the airport’s capacity and reduce congestion at the airport and reducing the quantity of aircraft waiting to land and depart.

Brisbane Airport announced that its new runway was the largest aviation construction project within Australia and will contribute over $5 billion in yearly economic benefits to the state.

However, even with the decrease in aviation traffic caused by COVID-19, Brisbane airport’s project director Paul Coughlan expects air traffic will eventually return to normal.