$1.1 Billion Dollars Poured Into the Sand

$1.1 Billion Dollars Poured Into the Sand


After eight years of construction – including reclaiming 11 million cubic metres of sand from Moreton Bay – Brisbane's new airport runway emerges from the sand. The cost, a jaw dropping $1.1 billion dollars. A cost that is supposed to be easier to swallow as it is said to be a "saving of $200 million on initial estimates".

The sandy area is more than eight metres deep in some places and three kilometres long – Brisbane Airport’s billion-dollar new parallel runway was completed very, very quietly after eight years of construction with no ceremony, no champagne and very few people present to mark the significant state milestone. 

The cost of the billion dollar project is being met by Brisbane Airport Corporation (75%) and by plane customers (25%) who pay between an extra 35 cents to $1.35 cents on their tickets.

The world's largest airlines who pay to use Brisbane Airport – including Qantas and Virgin – are not directly paying for the new runway. They passed the cost on to their customers in small ticket price increases.

The runway represents one of Brisbane's biggest infrastructure improvements,  with its official opening on July 12, 2020. When the project was first planned it was originally claimed it would slowly double Brisbane Airport's passenger numbers from 23.4 million in the 2018-19 financial year to more than 50 million by 2040.

Airport's new parallel runway by the numbers:

  • 3.3 kilometres long
  • 324 different subcontractors engaged
  • 90% of contractors based in south-east QLD
  • 3.3 million man-hours
  • Cost $1.1 billion 

"In many respects, this runway is symbolic of the very firm belief we have that aircraft will, in the not too distant future, return to the skies, and our terminals will once again be full of happy people looking forward to visiting their families, having holidays or travelling to do business," project people said.

"The last few months have been difficult for everyone in the aviation and travel industries, as well as the whole community, but we have never lost sight of the fact that this project has been built for the long term. It will serve us well for many decades to come,"  project people also said.

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