Brisbane Airport’s home carrier to be the first jet to depart from new runway

Brisbane Airport

Brisbane Airport’s home carrier to be the first jet to depart from new runway

Saturday 4 July 2020: Virgin Australia will be the first airline to depart on Brisbane’s new runway when it officially opens on Sunday, 12 July 2020.

After eight years of construction and five decades of planning, the new and efficient runway system will provide Brisbane Airport with the greatest runway capacity of any capital city airport in the country.

The $1.1 billion privately funded project is the largest in the history of Brisbane Airport since its opening in 1988, and worth nearly as much as the initial cost of the airport when Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) bought it in 1997 for $1.38 billion.

BAC Chief Executive Gert-Jan de Graaff said the first departure by Virgin Australia would be a fitting way to mark Brisbane’s new runway as open for business.

“As our airport’s home carrier and an airline that has always shown great confidence in Brisbane and Queensland as a place to do business, I am delighted to have Virgin Australia fly the first departure from Brisbane’s new runway.

“COVID may have hampered some of our plans to mark this historic moment but, it certainly has not detracted from our pride and sense of accomplishment.

“The Virgin Australia staff are family here, and in these trying times for our industry it will be a particularly special moment to celebrate alongside them,” Mr de Graaff said.

To mark the anniversary of the very first flight between Brisbane and Tropical North Queensland by Barrier Reef Airways which took off 73 years to the day on 12 July 1947, Virgin Australia will operate a Boeing 737 aircraft between Brisbane and Cairns.

Virgin Australia Group CEO and Managing Director Paul Scurrah said Queensland has been home to Virgin Australia for two decades and the new runway at Brisbane Airport will play an important part of our future plans.

“The runway opening is a turning point, not only for airlines such as Virgin Australia, but also for the broader tourism sector which has been hampered by the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’re really looking forward to marking this special occasion with the first departure to Cairns as part of the 73rd anniversary of flights between Brisbane and Tropical North Queensland.”

Virgin Australia flight VA 781 will depart Brisbane to Cairns at 10:50am on Sunday, 12 July 2020. To book, visit

The official opening events will be live streamed on BNE’s Facebook page.

First published on Brisbane Airport website.

Update 15th of July, 2020

Welcome to a special edition of Take Off, celebrating the opening of Brisbane’s new runway.

Brisbane’s new runway is a visionary project that has been five decades in the planning and under construction for eight years.

On Sunday 12 July 2020, Brisbane’s new runway was launched with an Australian first for a capital city airport, an aerobatic display including four historic aircraft thanks for our friends at Fighter Pilot Adventure Flights.

Want to work at the airport? Start by attending one of our free career information sessions to find out about opportunities!

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