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Thursday, 17 February 1977

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) -My remarks this morning will be in relation to Brisbane Airport. It is a subject which has attracted the notice of many people throughout my State for some years. A number of facts in relation to that airport have come to light which disturb me greatly. More tests have been done, more promises have been made concerning the proper development of the airport than in relation to any other major city capital airport in Australia. Those tests and promises have continued from the middle 1960s to the present day. Precise promises were made in 1971-72. Promises were made by the previous Government in 1973. The Coombs report and other determinations were utilised to try to wish the promises out of existence. Circumstances have now come to my notice which make it quite clear that that airport is incapable of functioning properly and completely even as a domestic airport.

Those facts are serious. Brisbane has the third capital city airport in Australia. It is the quickest growing airport in terms of traffic. The movements of domestic and international passengers have consistently exceeded the target levels. That happened even last year when passenger traffic throughout Australia fell significantly short of the projected levels. Therefore, the first proposition I make is this: Unless there is a new runway development that airport will be incapable of handling the traffic for the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Games have been awarded to Brisbane. If that city is not merely to become a secondary and subsidiary airport for trans-shipment of passengers to and from international flights to other airports in Australia it is incapable of handling the traffic. I refer to the Commonwealth Games held in Perth in 1962. Even if there were the same type of increase in traffic as occurred then at Perth, Brisbane could not cope.

It is unsatisfactory that the third airport in Australia would be incapable of doing the job. The forecasts of the rate of growth of traffic have been made. Brisbane Airport has the highest per capita usage of any airport in Australia other than Canberra but the evidence in respect of domestic usage of the airport is overwhelming. It is clear that even domestic Boeing 727 aircraft are not able to utilise that airport with their all-up weight. I should like to read some data into Hansard which I believe is extremely important. In light to variable wind conditions at Brisbane Airport at 28 degrees centigrade which applies in the area for most of the year- it is a modest temperature- a domestic Boeing aircraft has to fall 2600 lb short of its take-off weight in order to function. That is equivalent to 12 to 13 passengers. At 30 degrees centigrade with similar wind conditions or no wind conditions a domestic aircraft using the present runway with its incorrect configuration has to be 4600 lb short of its all-up weight for take-off purposes. That is equivalent to 21 to 22 passengers. At 32 degrees centigrade it would be 8000 to 9000 lb short of its full take-off weight. At only 2 capital city airports are such restrictions required. Darwin, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney do not have them. Only Brisbane and Adelaide nave them and Brisbane is the third busiest capital city airport.

Last year nearly 2 500 000 passengers went through that port. I suggest to the Government that the situation at Brisbane Airport with that number of passengers and with the responsibility of being the number one airport and the only significant international airport in Queensland is totally unsatisfactory. It has always been known to me and to others that it is incapable of functioning adequately as an international port. Boeing 747 aircraft on international flights which are fully loaded with passengers have to shed fuel, drop down at Sydney and then proceed overseas. There is no way in the world that that situation is justifiable for what should be an international airport, certainly for the holding of the Commonwealth Games. I will give some data in respect of Boeing 747 jets. With nil or normal wind conditions across the runway, at 28 degrees centigrade those planes have to drop 1 16 000 lb in their take-off weight. At 30 degrees centigrade they have to drop just on 122 000 lb in their take-off weight. At 34 degrees centigrade, a temperature which is experienced in Brisbane quite often, they have to drop 133 000 lb. No one should pretend that in those circumstances the airport comes even close to functioning as a justifiable international terminal.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - How many extra on the runway are needed?

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - An extra on the runway would not solve the problem because it would not take account of the correct wind conditions. They are such that the runway has to be new and tilted as an old runway was tilted many years ago. Even a Boeing 707 has to be over 40 000 lb short of its take-off weight at 28 degrees centigrade. At 30 degrees centigrade it has to be 45 000 lb short and at 34 degrees centigrade it has to be 5 1 600 lb short. The gravamen of my remarks is that judgment on the use of that airport depends upon a judgment as to its runway. I believe that all other airport conditions are secondary to satisfactory runways. For domestic functioning Brisbane runway cannot do the job. A most common domestic plane in Australia, the Boeing 727, always has to function with less take-off weight than the maximum which it can have at all other capital city airports other than Adelaide. We know the difficulties Adelaide sometimes has with passengers travelling between that port and Perth. I suggest that the Government make it a top priority in airport construction to upgrade and recast the runway in the direction that has been promised.

Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Are these figures you are quoting official?

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - Yes, officially obtained from those who fly the planes. These are the weights that the captains of the planes are required to observe.

Mr Graham - It is important that you have all the fuel you need when you get up there.

Mr Kevin Cairns (LILLEY, QUEENSLAND) - That is right, if you want to reach your destination. Oddly this is an urgent proposition and it should be an absolutely top priority for airport construction in Australia.

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