In a significant move towards enhancing the airport experience, Brisbane Airport has set in motion a $5+ billion development program known as Future BNE. This comprehensive project aims to cater to the expected growth in Queensland’s population over the next decade and beyond, marking a pivotal transformation for the state’s primary transportation hub.
Future BNE encompasses more than 150 individual projects, which span across the Domestic Terminal, International Terminal, and encompass ongoing planning for the Terminal 3 precinct. It also includes aviation-focused endeavors like the expansion of aircraft parking and aprons, resurfacing of the legacy runway, and the creation of an advanced Aeromedical facility to centralise medical repatriation and emergency services at Brisbane Airport.
“We’re investing now to stay ahead of the population curve, ensuring we are well-prepared for the year 2032 and beyond. Our aim is to foster closer connections between Queenslanders and the world while also spearheading sustainability efforts,” affirms Gert-Jan de Graaff, Chief Executive Officer of Brisbane Airport Corporation.
The current workforce at Brisbane Airport surpasses 20,000 individuals employed by over 600 organisations. This number is expected to grow by an additional 10,000 in the coming decade.
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Domestic Terminal Renovation Commences
A significant phase of the Brisbane Airport transformation begins this week with the revitalisation of the Domestic Terminal. This refurbishment is aimed at bringing the facility, initially unveiled just prior to the World Expo ’88, into the modern age.
The decision to upgrade security screening equipment, aligning with the Australian Government’s stipulated standards by the end of 2025, catalysed this overhaul. Brisbane Airport Corporation is leveraging this requirement to implement a series of projects that will substantially alter Queensland’s primary portal to the world.
The Domestic Terminal at Brisbane Airport stands as Australia’s most interlinked domestic terminal, offering services to 61 destinations, with half of them being situated within Queensland.
The airport witnessed 20 million passengers traversing its terminals in the past year, with expectations of an additional 10 million passengers in the next decade, an outcome driven by Queensland’s population growth.
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Gert-Jan de Graaff underscores, “Over 20,000 individuals presently work at Brisbane Airport daily, and we predict this number will reach 30,000 by the time the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games commence. Future BNE will also generate numerous construction jobs as our 150 projects come to life.”
Enhancing Domestic Terminal Security
The replacement of security screening systems is a requisite of the Australian Government’s Strengthening Aviation Security Initiative, with a stipulated completion deadline of December 2025. This calls for the installation of new Computed Tomography (CT) technology.
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The advantages are clear:
- A more seamless security screening process, allowing passengers to retain most items in their hand luggage.
- Enhanced security through superior screening.
- A standardised screening experience across major airports in Australia.
Brisbane Airport has awarded the contract for the security upgrade to Rapiscan.
Introduction of the Mezzanine Level
To accommodate the new, weightier security screening equipment, a mezzanine level will be added above the existing Central Terminal Area. This complex engineering project is set to transpire while the terminal continues to serve up to 60,000 passengers daily. Once completed, this mezzanine level will provide direct access to security screening for passengers who have checked in and possess only carry-on luggage.
Over the 3-year construction period, passengers will be guided by airport ambassadors, customer service officers, updated signage, and online assistance to ensure a smooth transition.
As per Gert-Jan de Graaff, this endeavor is akin to performing open-heart surgery on a patient while they are running a marathon, emphasising the challenges and significance of the project.
Lendlease will oversee the project, breaking it down into stages to mitigate the impact on passengers, airlines, and retailers.
Revamping the Baggage System
An advanced state-of-the-art baggage system is set to replace the existing system at the Domestic Terminal. The present baggage system is a combination of three separate systems installed during the 1980s, while Ansett was in operation. Upon completion, the new system will offer substantial improvements in reliability, capacity, security, and sustainability.
Key features of the new system:
- Enhanced reliability.
- Expanded capacity.
- Improved security screening of checked-in bags.
- Energy-efficient operation, shutting down segments when idle, thereby conserving energy.
The Domestic Terminal will witness the construction of an entirely new baggage hall adjacent to the central satellite walkway. The current system will continue to operate until the new system is fully built, tested, and commissioned, ensuring a seamless transition.
The task of building the new baggage handling system has been entrusted to global automation specialists Alstef and Brock Solutions.
Domestic Terminal Self Check-in
Upgrades to the Domestic Terminal Self Check-in will streamline the check-in process for passengers of all domestic airlines, offering an easy-to-use interface that integrates seamlessly with bag drop and security screening, affording travelers more time to relax and explore the airport.
The refurbishment of bathrooms in the Domestic Terminal is another part of this revitalisation. Feedback from passengers has led to an increase in capacity, as well as the introduction of new fixtures and finishes. These upgrades will include accessible bathrooms and parenting rooms while focusing on sustainable design to reduce water usage.
Construction is underway to expand dining options in the Virgin Australia section of the terminal. A new bar along the glass windows will offer travelers a view of planes taking off and landing, allowing them to savor cocktails while watching the action. A total of 10 new food and beverage options will be available, including a 360-degree restaurant, the largest ever constructed at the airport.
Refreshed Gate Departure Lounges
To bring the Domestic Terminal into the 21st century, upgrades are planned for departure gate lounges. This includes the progressive replacement of carpet and seating. Additionally, new café-style social seating will be installed at gates near the retail area.
The furniture is Australian-designed, manufactured using sustainably grown Spotted Gum timber, and other sustainable materials. Wheelchair accessibility is a key feature, and passengers will have the opportunity to watch aircraft land and take off before their flight while enjoying window-side stools and device-charging stations.
Charging Stations for Airside Electric Vehicles
As part of their commitment to sustainability, Brisbane Airport is investing in charging stations for airside electric vehicles. The aim is to support the electrification of the airport’s vehicle fleet, with the aspiration that 70% of these vehicles will be electric by 2026. This transition is not only expected to reduce emissions but also noise levels, thereby enhancing the overall airport experience for passengers and workers on the tarmac.
Brisbane Airport is designing bussing lounges to enhance the bus transit experience to and from aircraft parked at remote bays. These lounges are expected to expand capacity, improve passenger comfort, and save travelers time that would otherwise be spent on lengthy walks.
Domestic Terminal P2 Car Park Expansion
The rise in demand for parking space has prompted the expansion of the P2 car park. This expansion will provide an additional 1,700 car spaces, along with storage for scooters and bikes, sheltered from the elements
International Terminal Security & Retail Upgrades
The International Terminal Security and Retail Upgrade will offer a new retail experience and a streamlined passenger journey including simplified check-in and a new screening process, with passenger and baggage screening equipment aligned to meet government-mandated standards. This will allow passengers to leave most of their items in their luggage.
The project includes extensive new retail, food and beverage offerings and a re-imagined duty-free experience.
Brisbane Airport Corporation is planning a third terminal to meet future demand. Positioned between the two runways to maximise connectivity, The Terminal 3 precinct will include domestic and international air services, with state-of-the-art facilities and amenities.
It will be built with inclusive and sustainable design, proudly connecting Australia with the world. This ambitious project is scheduled for completion in the 2030s, ensuring that Brisbane Airport remains at the forefront of aviation well into the next decade.