Brisbane Airport has proposed adding a new third terminal to meet predictions of a huge growth in travel demand.
The airport is already low on space with the current two terminals, according to the airport’s head of public affairs, Stephen Beckett, and with travel lockdowns from the pandemic lifting and the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, demand is only set to grow further.
The Brisbane Airport Commission (BAC) has estimated that passenger numbers at the airport will be around 50 million by 2040. “We really need that extra capacity to make sure that Queenslanders and people visiting Queensland can get to the destinations they need,” he said.
“We know that we’re going to see the number of people using Brisbane Airport more than double between now and 2040.”
Currently, the airport has suggested that the new terminal will be built between the two existing runways.
“We’re looking at the best location, together with our airline partners, for where that new terminal will go,” said chief executive Gert-Jan de Graaff.
“We think it will be in between the two runaways because that’s the perfect location to minimise aircraft taxiing, and it is close to our current domestic terminal.”
De Graaff has also said that the third terminal would potentially be used for both domestic and international flights, making its location between runways ideal.
“A few of our domestic airlines will likely go into terminal three,” he said.
“We might even allocate some international traffic in there as well to provide for better connectivity between domestic and international flights.”
Whilst the expansion to a third terminal would increase the airport’s capacity and bolster the state’s travel industry, concerns surrounding noise pollution have been raised.
Brisbane faced a similar scenario when it opened its new parallel runway in July 2020. Locals quickly complained about increased noise as a result of a slew of new flight paths.
Marcus Foth, acting chair of the Brisbane Flight Path Community Alliance, said that the new terminal would result in extra flights that would worsen noise pollution.
“I think the new terminal is part of the very aggressive growth strategy that the airport is pursuing,” said Foth.
“We know that they have already started to recover to pre-COVID numbers [of flights], and it is causing a very detrimental effect through the excessive noise pollution on about 169 suburbs of Brisbane.”
In response to the concerns, Beckett has said that the airport, in conjunction with Air Services Australia, had been designing flight paths to mitigate this.
“We are working with them to make sure that we have as limited impacts both on the environment and the community as possible,” he said.
When the parallel runway was opened in 2020, the BAC sought to increase flights over the bay, despite a push from the Greens to introduce a flight curfew and hourly caps, which the business said would cost the local economy $1 billion annually.