The basis of an airport revolution has been underway in Brisbane and it has nothing to do with Brisbane International.
While Brisbane’s main airport second runway development has captured more than a share of the mainstream media headlines, this revolution has to do with the city’s second airport – Archerfield.
It’s a name synonymous with Australian aviation history as Brisbane’s original main airport, with links to pioneers such as Lores Bonney, Charles Kingsford Smith and Bert Hinkler through affiliation with the Queensland Aero Club.
Lores Bonney flew from Archerfield in 1932 to become the first woman aviator to circumnavigate Australia, and in 1934 the first to fly solo from Australia to England.
That same year, Kingsford Smith further stamped his name in the annals by flying from Archerfield to San Francisco, the first west-east crossing of the Pacific Ocean.
Aircraft mechanics working on an Avro Anson MK1 Plane.
(Archerfield Ca. 1942)
A de Havilland DH.89 pictured outside a hangar at Archerfield.
(Archerfield Ca. 1937)
The airfield played a major role in the Pacific campaign in World War II as home for various Allied squadrons, a heavy maintenance base, a flight training centre and, at various times, the airport was served by key airlines such as Qantas, Ansett ANA and Trans Australian (TAA).
After World War II, Ansett ANA and Trans Australia Airlines moved their operations to Eagle Farm on 10 March 1947. Archerfield saw its last airliner operation on 29 May 1949.
Now all eyes are fixed firmly on Archerfield as it continues to further develop its role in the present and with great ambition for its future as Queensland’s premier home to general aviation.
Work on $17.5 million of improvements under the Project AIM (Airside Infrastructure Modernisation) component of the Archerfield Airport Master Plan 2017-2037 is expected to begin soon, after approval was given for the extension of the main runway by Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister and minister responsible for airports.
Archerfield Airports $17.5M Investment in strengthening and lengthening the main runway complex
Mr McCormack said he supported the continued growth of Archerfield Airport in its role as a major pilot training, emergency services, charter and recreational flying centre for South-East Queensland.
The Project AIM works include the lengthening and strengthening of the airport’s main runway 28R/10L and adjoining taxiways, updating ageing lighting as well as providing new runway threshold and other lighting, and installation of a precision approach path indicator (PAPI).
According to Archerfield Airport Corporation (AAC) these works, along with other associated improvements, will provide safety, environmental, economic and operational benefits for the types and sizes of aircraft that currently operate from the airport.
They also set the scene for the possible reintroduction of niche regular passenger transport services in the future, if required.
Recognised as Brisbane’s metropolitan airport, Archerfield is located just 11kms from the Brisbane CBD and is already Queensland’s largest GA and corporate aviation airport – a focal point for fixed and rotary wing flight training, charter, search and rescue and emergency medical services.
Corporate aviation is set to take
off at Archerfield.
Alongside provision of its own aviation services, Archerfield’s role is complementary to the activities of Brisbane International in providing relief from smaller aircraft movements and, like its larger sibling, it operates 24 hours a day throughout the year.
AAC says Project AIM “will assist in facilitating this anticipated growth by improving and modernising the existing ageing infrastructure to enable the airport to continue to play a supportive role to Brisbane Airport for the foreseeable future. It will also provide further opportunities to attract and host additional aviation and aviation compatible businesses.”
AAC has operated and managed the airport, which is on Commonwealth land, since its privatisation in June 1998. AAC holds a 99-year ground lease on the site which boasts four runways (two asphalt, two grass) under Class D airspace with tower services on site daily.
Since taking over, AAC has injected more than $38 million into the repair, restoration and renewal of the Archerfield facilities including refurbishment of the terminal building, development of a key aeromedical/emergency services hub for SE Queensland through provision of a base for both LifeFlight and the police air wing Polair, and other general improvements including an award winning Airspace Optimisation Project in 2017.
AAC’s vision under the master plan includes further development of opportunities in niche corporate aviation, including business charter, aeromedical/emergency rescue, fixed base operations (FBO) and future RPT.
It says operators can take advantage of the airport’s unique position in one of Brisbane’s most important industrial and commercial growth centres, close to the city’s newly designated western and south western growth corridors, the CBD, hospitals and commercial hubs.
World Class Training Facilities
There are a few current leasing opportunities on site, key among them a premium accommodation facility ideal for a flight school with potential for lecture rooms, pilot briefing areas, and/or space for simulators. The building, in the heart of the airport, has an observation deck, 40-bedroom student accommodation, a communal dining room and recreation facilities.
Other properties typically available for lease include general aircraft hangars, maintenance facilities, corporate hangars and aeroports.