The prospect for a change of orientation for the airport’s main runway had been discussed since the early 1980s. The length and width of the former runway were recognised as constraints to growth in passenger numbers, destination and freight capacity.
The project included:
- a new 2,450m long x 45m wide main Code E runway aligned to the north-west south-east (Runway 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 eight Code C aircraft (B737/A320 type aircraft).
The new runway will cater for aircraft such as the Airbus A330 and Boeing 787. It has an orientation of 128 degrees/308 degrees magnetic, giving the runway its 13/31 designation.
Runway 13/31 meets all CASA and international standards, and is able to be used by all Regular Passenger Transport (RPT) aircraft and at least 90 per cent of General Aviation (GA).
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.
Due to safety risks, the former runway (18/36) has been decommissioned.