Flight Caps and Curfews: Brisbane Airport’s Billion-Dollar Warning

Brisbane Airport has warned that the introduction of flight caps and a curfew, as proposed by the Australian Greens party, could cost the economy AU$1.5 billion ($990 million) and result in more than 16,000 job losses. The politician behind the push is Brisbane-based Elizabeth Watson-Brown, the aviation spokesperson for the Australian Greens party in the federal parliament.


The proposed legislation aims to limit Brisbane Airport to 45 flight movements per hour and introduce a curfew between 22:00 and 06:00. However, independent financial modeling released by the airport predicts a decline in regional flights and passenger movements, with significant negative impacts on tourism, essential deliveries, and local produce exports. It would also lead to flight cancellations, delays, inconvenient schedules, and higher airfares for passengers.


The issue arose when Brisbane Airport commissioned its second runway in July 2020, and some flights flew over areas that previously were not on flight paths. The airport has consulted widely with the local community and is actively working in consultation with Airservices Australia, the agency responsible for flight path design and air traffic control. In 2022-23, five million people traveled to and from Brisbane Airport (BNE) and regional Queensland, with an average of 159 flights a day. If the curfew and flight caps are introduced, there would be 3,100 fewer regional Queensland flights and 239,000 reduced passenger movements in the Financial Year 2026 (July-June). This loss would rise to 11,200 flights and 915,600 passengers by FY32.

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The airport said passengers would have to deal with canceled flights, flight delays, inconvenient flight schedules, and higher airfares. The airport released independent financial modeling today that shows economic activity would be reduced by AU$1.5 billion ($990 million) and cost more than 16,000 jobs if the caps and curfew are introduced.

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