Virgin Australia, BNE’s home carrier, had the honour of the first historic departure, flying to Cairns in celebration of Brisbane’s deep connection with the regions and Queensland’s tourism industry.
Following an official ribbon cutting on the runway, invited VIP guests gathered airside with 150 Brisbane Airport Corporation staff and 10 local plane spotters, 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 air space above BNE was briefly closed to allow the aerobatics display by ‘Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights’, a Brisbane-based private aircraft collection and flight experience company specialising in warbird operations.
Flying at speeds of up to 500 kilometres per hour at an altitude of 100 metres the aerobatics display included a breath-taking series of linked manoeuvres, V-formation flying, and a tail chase.
Brisbane Airports Corporation Chief Executive, 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.
“Today we are making history. We are creating the future. And very soon, once again, we will be connecting the world.”