This story from the Australian Aviation archives comes from the January/February 2015 edition, when Jordan Chong wrote about how Brisbane Airport handled the logistical challenge for the Group of 20 Nations gathering in Brisbane, Gordon Reid catalogued the major movements and Alexander Watts and Lance Broad photographed the various aircraft that passed through BNE for the G20 Summit in November 2014.
When dealing with heads of state and their delegations, it pays to expect the unexpected.
Brisbane Airport’s Group of 20 Nations (G20) coordination team had spent months planning for what they hoped would be every potential scenario in a bid to ensure the aircraft arrivals and departures were handled smoothly and without incident.
However, there were some things that popped up no one could have thought of.
For example, who knew Mexico president Enrique Peña Nieto was a fan of Krispy Kremes?
Brisbane Airport’s security and emergency services manager Gary Bowden says when the call came through, the doughnuts simply had to be delivered to the aircraft prior to departure.
“There was a famous request from the Mexican president who wanted four boxes of Krispy Kremes,” Bowden told delegates at the Australian Airports Association national conference held on the Gold Coast.
“One of our team, Julie, ran down to the Krispy Kreme cart, which was about to close up, and satisfied his request so he was quite happy that he got his Krispy Kremes just before he left the country.
“It wasn’t just the big picture stuff, it was the little stuff as well.”
Last-minute incidents such as those, or when the Saudi Arabia crown prince wanted to head to the airport to say goodbye to his uncle even though it had been agreed that there would be no farewells, popped up regularly during the summit.
As such, the G20 operations centre at Brisbane Airport were kept on their toes throughout.
“It was very taxing time but I am pleased to say everything they threw at us, we came up with a workaround in some operational sense to deliver what we needed to delver in an operational sense,” Bowden said.
One highlight was the four near simultaneous arrivals on Friday night, when the German, Russian, Chinese and Saudi Arabian state flights arrived within 90 minutes of each other, requiring some creative parking to enable their delegations to exit the aircraft in a timely manner.
And on Sunday afternoon, when the delegations were departing Brisbane, there were six motorcades coming to the airport within a 30-minute period. Russia’s motorcade stretched to 27 cars.
The largest aircraft seen at BNE over the G20 was Boeing 747-400s used by China, Saudi Arabia, Japan, South Korea and India.
At the other end of the scale, the Argentina delegation flew in on a Falcon 7X business jet.
Brisbane Airport Corporation G20 program manager Edward de Kruijf said it was a very time- consuming process for the core team of 25 people to organise aircraft arrivals and departures given the constantly changing information.
“It is not just a matter of one aircraft as a standard RPT arrival and standard handling,” he said.
“All the countries require their own operational plan basically and combining it all together into the mini airport, into the greater business-as-usual airport, I think that is the biggest challenge.
“It’s really hard to organise an event like that with so many variables.”
All up, Brisbane Airport parked 35 aircraft for the summit itself, and handled about 70 G20-related aircraft overall.
Brisbane Airport airside operations manager Peter Dunlop said once the head of state and delegation left the aircraft and the baggage was cleared, the widebodies were towed to the international terminal where they were refuelled, cleaned and then taken to their parking position.
Meanwhile, Code C aircraft were taken to their parking space and refuelled there.
While the 40 degrees Celsius temperatures were not pleasant for the staff working outside, such as security staff and ground handlers, the fine, sunny conditions were a blessing for organisers, given the airport had only one major runway and had to maintain normal scheduled flight operations.
“I’m extremely proud that, with support from our partners from Airservices, Menzies Aviation, Customs and Immigration, the G20 Taskforce, Queensland Police Service, ISS Security Services, Corporate Protection Australia Group and the Australian Federal Police, we managed to achieve those goals,” Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said.
G20 heavy metal: A listing of the major aircraft visitors for the G20 summit
German air force A340-313 16+01 callsign “GAF883” arrived in Brisbane from Auckland on November 15 and departed for Sydney on November 16. It then departed Sydney for Kansai on November 17.
French air force A340-211 F-RAJA “Cotam 21” arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 14 and the same day continued to Noumea. The A340 departed Noumea for Sydney on November 18 before continuing to Canberra and Singapore on November 19.
Saudi Arabian Royal Flight A340-213X HZ-HMS2 “Saudia 2” arrived from Singapore on November 13 and departed to Singapore on November 17.
French Air Force A330-223 F-RARF “Cotam 1” arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 15 before continuing to Noumea on November 16. It departed Noumea for Sydney on November 18 and after overnighting continued to Canberra and Singapore.
Government of Turkey A330-243 TC-TUR “Turku 3” arrived in Brisbane from Jakarta on November 13 and departed to Manila on November 16.
Spanish Air Force A310- 304 T.22-2 as flight AME4503 arrived in Brisbane from Male on November 14 and departed to Jakarta on November 16.
RCAF A310-304 15001 “CFC01” arrived in Brisbane from Auckland on November 15 and departed the following day for Honolulu.
Aviation Link Company A319-111 VP-CMJ arrived in Brisbane from Kuala Lumpur on November 12 before returning there on November 18.
FAB A319-133(CJ) FAB-2101 as flight “BRS 1” arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 13 and departed to Kansai on November 16.
Italian air force A319-115(CJ) MM62243 “IAM9002” arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 15 before continuing to Sydney on November 16. It departed Sydney for Singapore on November 17.
Air India 747-437 VT-EVA AIC1 arrived in Brisbane from Naypyidaw on November 14 before departing to Sydney and Canberra on November 17. The following day VT-EVA departed for Melbourne and Nadi.
Air China 747-4J6 B-2472 CCA19 arrived in Brisbane from Beijing on November 15 and after overnighting continued to Canberra. B-2472 departed Canberra for Sydney on November 18 before continuing to Auckland on November 19.
Saudia Cargo 747-481(BDSF) TC-ACF SVA6871 arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 8 and after overnighting departed to Dhaka as SVA6872.
Saudia Cargo 747-481 (BDSF) TC-ACJ SVA6890 arrived in Brisbane from Dammam on November 21 and after overnighting departed to Singapore as SVA6890.
Republic of Korea Air Force 747-4B5 10001 KAF1 arrived in Brisbane from Naypyidaw, Myanmar on November 14 and departed to Seoul air base on November 16.
JASDF 747-47C 20-1101 “JAF2” and 747-47C 20-1102 “JAF1” arrived in Brisbane from Rangoon on November 14 and departed to Haneda on November 17.
United States of America 747-200B/VC-25A 92-9000 arrived at RAAF Amberley from Rangoon on November 15 and departed on November 16 to Hickam AFB.
United States of America E-4B 74-0787 “Edge 22” arrived in Sydney from Paya Lebar on November 15 and departed to Offutt AFB on November 16.
Saudi Arabian Royal Flight 747SP-68 HZ-HM1C “Saudia 1C” arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 13 and departed to Singapore on November 17.
Saudi Arabian 777-268ER HZ-AKF arrived in Brisbane from Singapore as SVA7378 on November 3 and after overnighting returned to Singapore as SVA7379. This sequence was repeated on November 11/13 and November 14/17.
Delta 777-232ER N864DA as DAL8878 arrived in Brisbane from Rangoon on November 15 and departed direct to Andrews AFB as DAL8877 on November 17 with a planned time of 16 hours 24 mins.
Republique Gabonaise 777-236 TR-KPR “Gabon 01” arrived in Sydney from Male on November 11 before returning to Male on November 12.
Mexican air force 757-225 TP-01/XC-UJM “MAF1” arrived in Brisbane from Manila on November 14 and departed on November 15 to Papeete.
RNZAF 757-2K2 NZ7572 “Kiwi 516” arrived Brisbane from Whenuapai on November 15 and returned there on November 16.
United States of America 757-200/C-32A 99-0003 “SAM632” arrived in Brisbane from Hickam AFB on November 14 before returning to Hickam on November 16.
United States of America 757-2Q8/C-32A 09-0015 “SAM95” arrived in Brisbane from Rangoon and Darwin on November 15 and after overnighting departed to Pago Pago.
United States of America 757-2Q8/C-32A 09-0016 “SAM44” arrived at Amberley from Rangoon and Darwin on November 14 and departed to Honolulu on November 17.
Fortune Air 727-2N6/RE ZS-PVX “South African 1” arrived in Brisbane from Singapore and Darwin on November 12 and departed to Darwin and Singapore on November 16.
Air China 737-89L/W B-5342 flight CCA19A arrived in Canberra from Guangzhou and Darwin on November 16 and departed to Hobart, Sydney and Auckland on November 18. B-5342 returned to Sydney from Auckland on November 20 and departed to Darwin and Guangzhou on November 21.
Republik Indonesia 737-8U3/ BBJ2 A-001 IAF1 arrived in Brisbane from Denpasar on November 14 before returning there on November 16.
Mauritanian Airlines 737-7EE 5T-CLC MRT1 arrived in Brisbane from Colombo and Port Hedland on November 15 before returning over the same route on November 16.
Saudi air force 737-7DP/BBJ HZ-101 as flight “SHU101” arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 13 before returning to Singapore on November 17. It later arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 20 and after over-nighting returned to Singapore.
Brazilian air force E190AR FAB-2590 as BRS02 arrived in Brisbane from Denpasar on November 9 before returning there on November 11. It returned to Brisbane from Denpasar on November 13 before departing to Guam and Kansai on November 16.
Rossiya Il-96-300s RA-96016 “RSD137”, RA-96019 “RSD31” and RA-96021 “RSD399” arrived in Brisbane from Vladivostok on November 14 before returning to Vladivostok on November 16.
Rossiya Il-96-300 RA-96018 “RSD33” arrived in Brisbane from Tianjin on November 6 before returning to Tianjin on November 8.
Russian air force Il-76MD RA-76669 as “TTF9073” arrived in Brisbane from Surabaya on November 11 before continuing to Sydney. It departed Sydney for Brisbane and Surabaya on November 17.
G20 Bizjets: A listing of some of the business jet visitors for the G20 summit.
VistaJet Global Express OE-LGX as “VJS804V” arrived at Maroochydore from Chiang Mai and Brisbane on November 15 and after overnighting departed to Brisbane and Singapore.
Gestair Gulfstream 550 EC-LYO as “EXU162” arrived at the Gold Coast from Don Muang and Brisbane on November 13 and after overnighting departed for Brisbane and Sydney. It departed Sydney for Brisbane and the Gold Coast on November 15 before continuing the following day to Brisbane and Don Muang.
Saudi Medevac Gulfstream 550 HZ-MS5B arrived in Brisbane from Singapore on November 13 before returning to Singapore on November 17.
Armada de Mexico Gulfstream 550 ANX-1207 arrived in Brisbane from Papeete on November 13 before returning to Papeete in the early hours of November 16.
Adani ERJ-135BJ Legacy 600 VT-AML arrived at Maroochydore from Halim and Brisbane on November 13. It departed Maroochydore for Brisbane and Sydney on November 17 before it continued to Melbourne on November 18. The Legacy then departed Melbourne for Broome and Seletar on November 19.
CAT Aviation Falcon 7X HB-JSS “Argentina 1” arrived in Brisbane from Christchurch on November 14 and departed on November 16 for Christchurch and Rio Gallegos on November 16.
Spanish air force Falcon 900B T.18-4 as AME4504 arrived in Brisbane from Jakarta on November 14 before returning there on November 16.
VIDEO: A look at Brisbane Airport’s G20 operation from the airport’s YouTube channel.
This story first appeared in the January-February 2015 edition of Australian Aviation.