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Breakthrough on Brisbane Airport runway development

written by australianaviation.com.au | June 19, 2013
Virgin's expanding ATR operations in Queensland are a key aspect of the agreement between the BAC and the airline for future terminal developments. (Seth Jaworski)

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) and Virgin Australia have reached an agreement that supports the development of critical infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

Significantly, the agreement breaks the deadlock between the BAC and airlines over the development on a new parallel runway, and paves the way for a broader strategic relationship between the airport and Virgin Australia.

As part of the agreement, Virgin Australia and the BAC will undertake a series of upgrades to the Virgin Australia leased area at the domestic terminal including an expanded Virgin Australia lounge, new gate lounges to support the growing ATR turboprop operations. The improvements, which will occur over the next three years, will also see expanded terminal seating areas and additional aerobridge gates for A330s.

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Virgin will sell and lease back its hangar at Brisbane Airport in a transaction that is expected to be completed by June 30.

With Virgin Australia now supporting the runway development, the airline has been assured of ongoing runway access for the next 10 years.

BAC’s CEO Julieanne Alroe said the signing of the agreement with Virgin Australia was a significant milestone for the airport.

“The agreement proves the commitment of both BAC and Virgin Australia to the growth of aviation services in Brisbane, Queensland and Australia.

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“BAC is committed to building Brisbane’s new runway. The project is on track and on schedule and our investment so far, along with today’s announcement, demonstrates this commitment and is an important step forward”, Alroe said.

Virgin Australia chief financial officer Sankar Narayan said: “With 37 per cent of our domestic flights arriving or departing the city each day, Brisbane is an extremely significant airport for Virgin Australia and is key to our growth aspirations.

“This agreement demonstrates that both BAC and Virgin Australia are committed to investing in customer experience and aviation infrastructure at Brisbane Airport.

“We have worked closely with BAC to achieve an outcome that is in the best interests of our customers, our shareholders and the state of Queensland”, Narayan added.

The agreement between the BAC and Virgin Australia has been welcomed by the Australian Airports Association (AAA).

AAA CEO Caroline Wilkie said the planned investment at Brisbane Airport has again confirmed Virgin Australia’s strong commitment to the people of Brisbane as well as the economic future of Queensland.

“John Borghetti has spoken extensively about the need for investment in airport infrastructure. Whilst airports are prepared to take the lion’s share of the risk on these initiatives, they can only make such investment with the support of their airline partners.

“Today’s announcement shows that airport and airline deals are best negotiated commercially and that mutually acceptable commercial terms can be reached.

“Brisbane Airport Corporation has long advocated, and planned, for the development of a New Parallel Runway at BNE and has already invested significantly in the project. Its commitment to this very significant infrastructure for the nation is to be commended,” Wilkie added.

“The agreement is recognition that the development of the parallel runway is critical for Brisbane and that Virgin Australia, as a major partner at the airport, accepts the need to support the airport develop for the future.”

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