Joint efforts make Brisbane runway efficiency world-class

10 Jun 2014

Airservices Australia’s close cooperation with the aviation industry has delivered a significant boost to runway efficiency at Brisbane Airport, bringing its performance closer to the world’s best.

Runway occupancy, or time that arriving planes spent on the runway, at Brisbane during April 2014 fell by almost 11 per cent to just 41 seconds, down from 46 seconds in February 2012.

Airservices Executive General Manager, Air Traffic Control, Greg Hood said cooperation between air traffic control, Brisbane Airport Corporation and pilots had delivered a world-class performance when compared with the world’s best performing single-runway airport, London’s Gatwick Airport.

“Unlike Gatwick, Brisbane’s mix of different-sized aircraft requires various and distinct spacing between them which adds another level of complexity to our operations,” Mr Hood said.

“This result is even more impressive when you consider that Brisbane air traffic movements increased by almost five per cent during 2013,” he said.

The cooperation to boost runway performance was part of a larger Airport Capacity Enhancement program introduced in 2011 to identify and unlock latent capacity.

Runway occupancy time and spacing between aircraft on approach and departure are key drivers of runway efficiency for any airport.

Airservices and Brisbane Airport Corporation engaged United Kingdom air navigation service provider, NATS, in 2012 to assess the Brisbane operations and provide a baseline from which to measure improvement.

To achieve the gains, Airservices educated pilots to use preferred taxiways and vacate the runway as soon as possible on arrival as well as standardising runway approach speeds within the terminal area to allow for more consistent spacing and predictability of aircraft movements.

“This substantial result was only possible with the cooperation of our industry partners, particularly airline pilots,” Mr Hood said.

Meanwhile, Airservices has seen a reduction in the average maximum airborne holding delay by approximately 35 per cent since the introduction of Metron in Brisbane in mid-December 2011.

This has seen average maximum airborne holding during the morning peak period fall from more than 20 minutes to less than 15 and from about 30 minutes to less than 20 in the evening peak.