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Brisbane Airport celebrates new runway with time capsule

written by Adam Thorn | June 15, 2020
Lance Broad Piper Comanche
A Piper Comanche completes the first ‘touch and go’ landing on Brisbane Airport’s new runway (Lance Broad, Brisbane Airport)

Coronavirus may have stopped the community events Brisbane Airport was planning to mark the opening of its new $1 billion runway, but organisers have come up with an ingenious replacement.

Instead, the airport will create a time capsule, reflecting a snapshot of 2020, to be opened in 50 years’ time.

The business is seeking suggestions from Queenslanders, traditional owners, airlines, schools and community groups for what items to include. Social distancing stickers will, no doubt, be included.

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However, instead of burying the capsule, it will instead be housed in the Kingsford Smith Memorial alongside the historical ‘Southern Cross’ aircraft flown by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith.

Airport chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said, “The time capsule is a small but significant way for community members to participate in the celebrations for the opening, while providing future generations with a glimpse of life in the year 2020, when it is opened in 50 years’ time.

“Particularly during these challenging times, the opening of this runway is a vote of confidence in Queensland’s future and our confidence in that future is just as strong as ever.”

Suggestions can be emailed to [email protected] by Wednesday, 1 July.

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Construction workers quietly finished building the $1 billion runway at the end of April and the first passenger jet is set to land on Saturday, 12 July.

The project to build it cost more than a $1 billion, took eight years of construction and demanded 3.3 million man-hours from 3,700 Australians.

It’s hoped it will slowly double the hub’s passenger numbers from 23.4 million to more than 50 million by 2040, increasing daily flights to 110 aircraft movements an hour.

The project was conceived 15 years ago and its construction was a joint venture between BMD Constructions and CPB Contractors.

At its peak, 650 people were on-site in mid-2019 and 324 subcontractors were hired, with around 90 per cent based in south-east Queensland. In total, the state reclaimed 11 million cubic metres of sand from Moreton Bay as part of the works.

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6 Comments

  • John Coucher

    says:

    An Open Letter

    ‘Time Capsule?

    How about thinking a bit bigger? Jumbo size? How about saving the last ever Qantas 747 and parking it somewhere not too far from Kingsford Smith’s aircraft? The aircraft is VH-OEJ, the last Boeing 747-400ER ever built. Only six were ever built, and they all served with Qantas. This last aircraft is due to fly to destruction at a boneyard in California on July 1st to be turned into spare parts and scrap metal. Qantas has flown 65 747s in total since 1971 and this is the very last one.

    Putting one on display in Brisbane would really put Brisbane Airport on the map. Which visitor could forget seeing a shiny Red and White 747 parked in a prominent place on the approach to our airport, Brisbane Airport? The Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach has a 747-200 but that is not exactly easy to get to. HARS has a 747-400 at Albion Park in NSW, the first -400 for Qantas but that is nowhere near as rare as the 400ER. 442 -400s were built.

    I hope you consider this suggestion seriously and as a matter of urgency. Relative to the cost of the runway, this would allow you to save an aircraft of significant historical and cultural value to Australia for a relatively small outlay. Most of the residual value of aircraft is in the engines which could be removed from the aircraft before display. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any further details. Even better, ring Qantas urgently before they destroy a significant part of many peoples history.’

    • Mac Carter

      says:

      I think the last ever B 747-400ER displayed at Brisbane Airport is an excellent idea. Engines can readily be replaced with time expired units. It is unacceptable that Qantas would see this historic aircraft cut up for scrap.

      • John Coucher

        says:

        Sadly, disposing the aircraft to sell its engines and having it cut up for scrap is exactly the course that Qantas is set on! There’s a tremendous opportunity for Brisbane Airport here. New transparent spray on coatings similar to ‘Spraylat’ (as used in US Military ‘boneyards’ for thousands of aircraft) mean that they could seal and preserve the aircraft for little outlay as the ultimate ‘Time Capsule’. They could lay the aircraft up until after the Coronavirus crisis is over and then gather sponsorship and partnerships to create a great ‘shrine’ to travel which is what an airport’s core business ‘is’, right!

  • Mark

    says:

    Photo caption correction. That’s a twin Comanche

  • Rod Ellis

    says:

    I would like to see a chronological registrar of aircraft operators that have operated through Brisbane since its inception. Much of this history may be lost in the next fifty years and I reckon it would be a fitting tribute to have it included in the time capsule.

  • Nicholas Plusnin

    says:

    PLEASE DO THIS!!!

    “An Open Letter

    ‘Time Capsule?

    How about thinking a bit bigger? Jumbo size? How about saving the last ever Qantas 747 and parking it somewhere not too far from Kingsford Smith’s aircraft? The aircraft is VH-OEJ, the last Boeing 747-400ER ever built. Only six were ever built, and they all served with Qantas. This last aircraft is due to fly to destruction at a boneyard in California on July 1st to be turned into spare parts and scrap metal. Qantas has flown 65 747s in total since 1971 and this is the very last one.

    Putting one on display in Brisbane would really put Brisbane Airport on the map. Which visitor could forget seeing a shiny Red and White 747 parked in a prominent place on the approach to our airport, Brisbane Airport? The Qantas Founders Museum in Longreach has a 747-200 but that is not exactly easy to get to. HARS has a 747-400 at Albion Park in NSW, the first -400 for Qantas but that is nowhere near as rare as the 400ER. 442 -400s were built.

    I hope you consider this suggestion seriously and as a matter of urgency. Relative to the cost of the runway, this would allow you to save an aircraft of significant historical and cultural value to Australia for a relatively small outlay. Most of the residual value of aircraft is in the engines which could be removed from the aircraft before display. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any further details. Even better, ring Qantas urgently before they destroy a significant part of many peoples history.’” (Source: John Coucher)

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