Media Releases

2011 Airport Plan a Grab for Industrial Land

The 2011 preliminary draft master plan (pdmp) for Archerfield Airport which opened for public comment from 15th December 2010 restates the long held goal of the landlord to turn most of Archerfield into a lucrative industrial park. This was proposed in the last Master Plan in 2005 and vigorously rejected by the previous Federal Government because it was against the community interest. The central issue here is the proposal to realign the 04 / 22 runway complex to free up land required for aviation use to be used for much more lucrative industrial factories.


Archerfield Airport Chamber of Commerce Incorporated (AACCI) which represents aviation users, pilots, tenants, training and maintenance organisations as well as the local community has already expressed to Archerfield Airport Corporation (AAC) at airport “consultation” meetings that there was no aviation requirement for any runway changes at Archerfield. The Chamber rejects the proposed runway changes in
the 2011 pdmp.

AAC’s justification for the runway changes is based on their allegations that “the grass runways were not available 27 percent of the time due to rain”. This is not correct. Availability of the 04/22 runways is not a decision made by the Airport Control Tower, Airservices Australia, The Civil Aviation Safety Authority or the Department of Transport. It is a decision solely made by Archerfield Airport Corporation, a power which the AACCI believes it abuses.

Aircraft use of the 04/22 cross runways has been “withheld” by AAC over many years. Pilots have been forced to land their aircraft on the main runway, in conditions of up to 10 knots of crosswind component because of the actions of AAC even though 04/22 runways have been perfectly serviceable. This necessarily reduces the use of these runways thereby distorting any statistics.

AAC’s other justification for grass runway re-alignment is “Soft Wet Surface” issues. Former Archerfield Airport Managers have advised our Chamber that adequate and regular grading / clearing of drainage channels was the strategy they used that kept the grass runways largely serviceable. Archerfield Airport was however originally selected as an airport site in 1929 because it could be used in wet weather more than any other locality.

The “Courier Mail” of 2nd April 1931 reported “the area generally has a gentle slope to the Northwest, thus lending itself to surface drainage, and subsoil examinations (by the Department of Defence) prior to acquisition revealed a satisfactory medium for sub-soil drainage.i” The Controller of Civil Aviation in 1934 stated he considered Archerfield aerodrome the best aerodrome in Australia ii. As of 25 January 1947 the all grass airfield “had been put out of action only twice in 17 years because of damage caused by heavy rain to the landing field iii”.

AAC also represent that realignment to a North South 01/ 19 runway would be better for wind direction.

The Bureau of Meteorology 35 year average annual wind Rose data for morning [9.00am] and afternoon [3.00pm] however proves otherwise (refer attached). The wind rose shows that the existing 04/22 (NE/SW) runways are correctly aligned with the wind rose data, not North South.

The airfield north of Boundary Road was compulsorily acquired by the Federal Government on 29 th October 1942 so that the airport could be used to its maximum advantage for Brisbane weather conditions.

In short the current runway directions were correctly determined years ago when the airport was uncompromisingly administered by the Department of Defence and the Department of Civil Aviation. They got it right.

In the Mid 1960’s the airfield also had a North / South Runway in addition to other runways, however the aviation professional members of our Chamber who extensively used the airfield during that period unequivocally advise that the North South runway was very infrequently used as wind directions favoured the present runway directions.

The 2011 pdmp, directly prioritises industrial land development to the detriment of aviation activities and development as it did the previous 2005- 2025 preliminary draft master plan.

This 2011 pdmp serves the financial interests of the landlord to the continuing detriment of aviation users, the surrounding community and ultimately the Australia public by further ongoing diminishment of the essential aviation infrastructure needed for the future growth of the SE Queensland region.

Further as Archerfield has an elevation of 19M (63 feet) compared to the Brisbane Airport of a mere 4M (13 feet) Archerfield must be retained as the reserve airport for the city of Brisbane. Adequate capabilities for emergencies require it to be maintained as a “code 3C” all weather instrument approach capable airport (i.e. so it can continue to accommodate larger aircraft – e.g. Fokker F50’s, Mc Donnell Douglas DC9-20’s, Embraer EMB 120, BAE 146’s, SAAB 340, etc )

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Wednesday 16th February 2011
Media Contact:
Mr Lindsay Snell
W 07 32741477
M (04) 18737707
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i Courier Mail 2nd April 1931 page 15
ii Courier Mail 7th December 1934 page 4
iiiCairns Post 25th January 1947 page 1