COVID-19: Brisbane Airport remains open, but ‘heavily’ reduces operations

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Brisbane Airport has made space available to handle parked aircraft. (PHOTO: Brisbane Airport)

Brisbane Airport in Australia has announced that it remains open but has reduced operations in some areas and made other changes to deal with the virtual global shutdown in aviation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Airport officials said they are still using their domestic and international terminals to handle arriving and departing passenger flights, freight traffic, and emergency services.

Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff. (PHOTO: Brisbane Airport)

The airport’s CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff, said the airport “will remain predictable and reliable by reducing the overall size of its operations and focusing on core activities that are appropriate given the crisis during the coming period. It is more important than ever before that we keep the lights on and the front door to Queensland open, and we are committed to working with all our partners during this unprecedented time to support the community and work towards recovery.”

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) said it is working with airlines to offer additional support, looking to accommodate up to 100 aircraft free of charge in response to government-mandated travel restrictions that have grounded a significant proportion of airlines’ fleets. The decommissioning of the cross runway, Runway 14/32, was brought forward to create additional parking space for grounded aircraft. The cross runway was to be decommissioned in May as part of the Operational Readiness and Testing programme for Brisbane’s new runway.

An aerial view of Brisbane Airport. (PHOTO: Brisbane Airport)

“We have created an additional 10 dedicated parking zones to accommodate the increased demand, including runway 14/32, Taxiway Papa (the original decommissioned runway for BNE), the logistics apron and various other aprons that have been modified to accommodate additional aircraft,” de Graaff said. “Alongside the provision of aircraft parking free of charge, we are working with the airlines to offer support on a case by case basis to assist when and where we can,” Mr de Graaff said.

Aircraft have been parked in such a way that regular maintenance can be achieved and have been positioned in such a way that BNE can begin to switch bays back on as/when needed.

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Matthew Driskill is the Editor of Asian Aviation and is based in Cambodia. He has been an Asia-based journalist and content producer since 1990 for outlets including Reuters and the International Herald Tribune/New York Times and is a former president of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong. He frequently appears on international broadcast outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC and has taught journalism at Hong Kong University and the American University of Paris. Driskill has received awards from the Associated Press for Investigative Reporting and Business Writing and in 1989 was named the John J. McCloy Fellow by the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York where he earned his Master's Degree.

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