The prospect for a change of orientation for the airport’s main runway has been discussed since the early 1980s. The length and width of the existing runway were recognised as constraints to growth in passenger numbers, destination and freight capacity.
The project includes:
- a new 2,450 m long x 45 m wide main Code E runway aligned to the north-west south-east (RWY 13/31)
- airfield taxiway system to efficiently facilitate aircraft movements to and from the new runway
- expansion of the apron at the existing terminal to accommodate up to 8 Code C aircraft (B737/A320 type aircraft).
The project will result in the closure of the existing secondary runway (RWY 12/30) and revised flight paths.
The new runway will be able to cater for aircraft such as the Airbus A330 and Boeing 787. It will have an orientation of 128 degrees/308 degrees magnetic, giving the runway its 13/31 designation.
As the new runway service larger aircraft, the existing terminal will be extended to accommodate the higher passenger volumes. The apron will also be extended.
Once complete, Runway 13/31 will meet all CASA and international standards, and be used by all Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) aircraft and at least 90 per cent of General Aviation (GA).
Runway 13/31 would intersect the existing Runway 18/36 slightly north of the current connection to the cross runway. The alignment of the new runway was chosen to avoid topographical constraints including Mt Coolum and Mt Ninderry. The location of the runway within the site was influenced by the following factors:
- meeting aviation standards without the need for exemptions
- achieving the runway length required to meet target destinations in Asia and the length required for larger aircraft
- reducing the number of residents affected by aircraft noise
- avoiding poor geotechnical conditions immediately east of the Sunshine Motorway at the north-west end of the runway
- providing adequate flood conveyance capacity between the end of the runway and the Sunshine Motorway to avoid potential flood impacts.