Moranbah topples Melbourne for busiest Brisbane air route
MORE Brisbane plane passengers flew to Moranbah than Melbourne last month in stark proof the COVID-19 crisis has taken an unprecedented bite out of Queensland tourism and business.
Brisbane Airport said there were more than 11,000 two-way passengers on Moranbah services in April 2020, compared to 8,600 passengers on Melbourne services.
Moranbah also took out the title for most flights from Brisbane for the first time, with 124 planes shuttling workers in and out to keep Queensland's desperately-needed mining industry going.
In the face of the massive 96 per cent drop in passenger traffic, Brisbane Airport is pushing on with preparations to open its billion-dollar new parallel runway on July 12, including some new flight paths that will kick off on May 21.
Arrivals and departures to the south and east will use the new flight paths to the current runway.
These new flight paths will be used during and after the interim operating period.
Arrivals and departures to the north and west - which will utilise the new runway once operational - will use contingency flight paths to and from the current runway during the interim operating period.
These contingency flight paths will also be used in the future when the new runway is closed, due to infrequent maintenance or emergencies.
Brisbane's new $1.3 billion runway opens later this year. It will open up flights to new destinations, making it easier for more tourists to land directly in Queensland
The interim flight paths will take planes over some areas that will not see them once the runway opens but have to be put in place in time for the twice-yearly instruction updates for pilots, BAC's Neil Hall said.
It comes as the airport welcomes three new flights at week from Doha with Qatar Airways from Thursday, May 21.
BAC boss Gert-Jan de Graaff said the airline would carry both commercial passengers and freight, providing a critical cargo channel for Australian businesses and producers.
"This announcement is most welcome and the first major sign the industry has commenced recovery phase following COVID-19 restrictions," Mr de Graaff said.
"As the world begins to heal, one stop services into Queensland from key British and European travel markets also offers a real opportunity for Queensland, with visitors arriving into Australian via Brisbane more likely to stay longer in the state, while dispersing further into regional Queensland."