A Cairns-bound Virgin Australia jet had the honour of becoming the first passenger plane to depart Brisbane Airport’s new runway after the airstrip was inaugurated on Sunday.
At the opening of the $1.1 billion runway, VIP guests gathered alongside 150 Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) staff and 10 plane enthusiasts, who won a place at the event to watch the first aircraft movements and a sky show involving three vintage aircraft.
While Brisbane Airport’s current operations are but a fraction of what they were pre-coronavirus, BAC CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said he saw “hope” in opening the runway.
“I see hope because I believe, absolutely, that travel is at the heart of modern society and the human need to explore means that ultimately nothing will keep us grounded forever,” he stated.
“While current world challenges mean less demand right now, the timing of this opening is fortuitous. Had we been any later, the project may have been delayed significantly creating more burden on the economy and dampening our spirits further.
“Instead Brisbane is an ideal position to take advantage of all opportunities on the road to recovery from COVID.”
With the new facility, Mr de Graaff said the airport was “creating the future. And very soon, once again, we will be connecting the world”.
“We are generating the jobs of tomorrow. We are reuniting people. We are creating new opportunities. We are fuelling the economy,” he added.
“And best of all, we are providing hope and inspiration. This runway is a beacon of hope for a very bright future. Our immediate future. The future of generations to come.”
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