Brisbane Airport is growing as an aviation hub with international passengers growing by 5.2 percent to more than 5.9 million in FY18. Over 17.5 million passengers flew domestically in FY18, a 1.5 percent increase on FY17. Brisbane boasts more domestic connections than any other airport in Australia, which drives the growth of the business hub. With the expansion of the northern International Terminal adding 11,000 square metres of space, and new runway currently under construction scheduled to open in 2020, Brisbane Airport is well positioned to be the nation’s preferred gateway airport. Brisbane Airport Corporation understands that people don’t travel to an airport, they travel to a destination. With 24,000 people working on or with the airport, located 8km from Brisbane CBD, and with 500 hectares of land available for future development, the stewardship challenge facing Brisbane Airport is how to continue its evolution serving its growing customers whilst becoming an integrated services hub for the benefit of Brisbane and the Queensland economy.
Brisbane Airport is in the midst of a 10-year A$3.8 billion infrastructure investment program that aims to position the airport as the nation’s preferred gateway airport. Investments include the recent A$135 million expansion of the northern International Terminal and apron that provides an additional 11,000 square metres of terminal space, and 55,000 square metres of new pavement capable of accommodating A380, B747, A330, A340 and A787 aircraft. Brisbane’s New Runway, scheduled to be completed by 2020 is the largest aviation construction project in Australia and will significantly increase current capacity once completed.
In addition to core infrastructure, Brisbane Airport is investing in ways that will improve customer outcomes, today and for the future. An example is the establishment of Changing Places Facilities. Standard accessible toilets do not meet the needs of all people with a disability or their carers. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as spinal injuries, spina bifida, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or an acquired brain injury, often need extra facilities to allow them to use the toilets comfortably.
Changing Places Facilities are different to standard accessible toilets in that they have extra features such as an electronically operated height adjustable adult size changing bench. A new facility has been constructed at the Domestic Terminal with a facility at International terminal expected to be completed by October 2018.
Brisbane Airport’s strong focus on sustainability is a recognition that through quality management it can support the airport’s long term resilience. With over 285 hectares of protected biodiversity zones, more than 10 percent of the airport’s landmass, the airport even produces its own Brisbane Airport Wetlands Honey from eight European honeybee hives that pollinate local flora.
Since south-east Queensland’s water restrictions in 2006-2009, Brisbane Airport has focused on water management. The construction of the new runway provided an opportunity to invest in a new recycled water pipeline that is delivering around 1250 megalitres (ML) of class A+ recycled water to the project. With an estimated usage of 4.5ML per day, the pipeline treats and re-uses waste water instead of it being discharged to Moreton Bay.
The recycled water is produced at Queensland Urban Utilities’ (QUU) Luggage Point facility and is pumped via the pipeline directly to the Airfield site. This water is currently primarily used for airfield concrete pavement, fine crushed rock production and landscaping. In the future other uses will include the airport’s air-conditioning. Brisbane Airport also owns, manages and operates the potable water distribution services on the airport, and is a registered water provider with the Department of Energy and Water Supply.
Energy is being managed through the installation in 2018 of a 6-megawatt solar system including 22,000 solar panels. These panels will generate close to 18 percent of BAC’s direct annual energy consumption.
Over the last decade Brisbane Airport has invested in broadband technology. Management understand that Smart Cities will increasingly integrate information and communication technology (ICT) and Internet of things (IoT) technology in a secure fashion to manage assets. High speed, high capacity connectivity will enable shared data insights, new sources of operational data, cost efficiency and innovative applications. Synonymous with high- speed connectivity is the term, gigabit.
Airports are hubs for travellers. Brisbane Airport’s vision to create a gigabit precinct raises questions as to what the future of airports will be. The strategic opportunities for Brisbane Airport include capitalising on existing Infrastructure to better service existing clients and establishing a smart- campus platform to service internal business requirements now and into the future. Instead of only being hubs for travellers, future airports, and their surrounding precincts, may well be hubs for connectivity.