Eye on the sky: Where Brisbane Airport will take the city in the next decade


Words by Andrew Brodie, General Manager of Aviation and Retail Management, Brisbane Airport

We’ve seen solid growth in visitor numbers to Brisbane over the past decade and it’s no surprise with the increase in hotels, experiences and events in the city. But what does that mean for us here at Brisbane Airport?

The key for us is to ensure we have a broad portfolio of growth markets so we are not overly dependent on any one source. Our existing partners delivered us significant growth in 2017, including Singapore Airlines increasing from 24 to 28 a week, Emirates from 14 to 21 a week, China Airlines from four to seven a week, Philippine Airlines announcing non-stop A321 from Manila, and Malaysia Airlines confirming its return from 6 June.

We also had Hainan Airlines launch Shenzhen in September and Air China launch four-a-week from Beijing in December. Between these carriers we have a good spread of reach into Europe, the Gulf and Asia.

And of course from September this year, Qantas will start basing four of its B789s in Brisbane to operate additional services into the US.

As far as having a broad portfolio, that mix is on the money and with potential for growth. In terms of what’s on the horizon, our sights are set firmly on India, North America and Latin America, while also ensuring we keep an eye on our own backyard in Asia.

We see a lot of potential across the globe, and the insights below are just some of the destinations that will drive our focus in the near future:

  • Delhi is now our largest unserved market, following by Phuket
  • Thailand overall remains an underserved market
  • Ho Chi Minh City is red-hot at the moment, and we’d like to see direct links
  • Direct to Jakarta is on our wish list
  • Brisbane and Queensland have the largest origin-destination traffic from Brazil, so getting links to South America is of interest
  • The European market loves Queensland, so increased access and points via intermediate points
  • BNE enjoys a geographic advantage to the southern Australian airports, with respect to North Asia and North America, so Japan and Korea links – more Seoul and more points in Japan
  • More points in the US – Chicago, New York, Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Las Vegas

Growth needs to be sustainable, with the right service mix

As passenger traffic and air services increase, it puts strain on infrastructure at the other ports. We see other key hubs in our region expanding, or planning to expand. Singapore Changi is looking at a new terminal and runway, Malaysia is looking at KLIA 3, and Hong Kong is planning a third runway. So our expanded runway capacity will dovetail well with other airport capacity expansions in our region.

Not only does Brisbane Airport have a new runway, this year we opened a northern concourse expansion at our International Terminal, adding four code C or two code E gates, as well as four new apron positions.

Significant work is being undertaken at the Domestic Terminal, as Brisbane Airport Corporation takes on operations for the whole building at the end of this year when direct airline leases expire.

As Australia’s third-largest city and third-busiest airport, with a population of 2.3 million and over 5 million within our catchment, there is definitely opportunity for further low-cost carrier growth in our market.

We are also mindful that in the past decade the operating costs and average fares between full-service and low-cost airlines have become closer than ever, with legacy carriers taking on the cost focus of LCCs, and LCCs diversifying and expanding their product offering to drive yield and revenue.

From a domestic viewpoint, our two full-service carriers operate LCCs and regional units, so it’s important we work closely with them to ensure the right brand is operated on the right city pairs. And it’s always a case of understanding the compromises and trade-offs.

There are still many opportunities for Brisbane in the domestic LCC space.

People are flying in, now we all need to be in sync

People travel to destinations, not airports, so the relationship between the community and Brisbane Airport is mutually beneficial. There are so many new tourism developments taking place that will increase Brisbane’s appeal as a destination further, such as the Queen’s Wharf Development.

The success of Brisbane Airport certainly benefits the regions and the entire tourism industry in Queensland. The opportunity for businesses and governments to work together on events like Routes Asia 2018 clearly demonstrates the importance of these relationships.

BAC partnered with TEQ, TIQ, Tourism Australia and Brisbane Marketing to deliver Routes Asia, together with private sector partners such as Star and Tangalooma Island Resort. We all benefit from working together and that extends to small and medium tourism products as well.

Brisbane is easily accessible as a city from all over Australia and the world, and we are of course working to ensure even greater connectivity. As a city, Brisbane offers great facilities, great weather and also easy access to tourism attractions both within the city, or an hour’s drive north, south or west. So the great facilities grouped with great tourism product is the right mix to attract delegates, and have them stay longer with pre and post-touring.

It’s nailing these events and ensuring that when visitors do land in Brisbane they’re inspired to stay longer that will ensure the next decade is transformative for the city.

We’ll be here, making sure their first impression is an incredible one.

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