The possibility of an upgraded runway had been flagged since the early 1980s. While the former runway 18/36, which opened in 1961 had been instrumental in the development of the local economy, its length and width (1,797m x 30m) limited the size of aircraft.
The alignment of the new runway was chosen to avoid topographical constraints including Mount Coolum and Mount 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 for target destinations in Asia and larger wide-bodied aircraft
– reducing the number of residents affected by aircraft noise
– avoiding poor ground conditions immediately east of the Sunshine Motorway at the north-west end of the runway.