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BAC-QUT Reach for the skies

Uniting to Achieve Innovation and Leadership


The partnership between BAC and QUT grew from a single collaborative research project in 1999.


Today, through prudent relationship management and a visionary approach, this unique partnership has matured to support more than 30 world-class research projects reflected in airport planning, development and operations.


The partnership unites QUT’s ‘real world’ philosophy and focus on practical, industry leading outcomes, with BAC’s vision to be world-best.


This powerful combination continues to set global benchmarks, contributes to achieving best practice management and operation of Brisbane Airport, and also contributes to Australia’s reputation as a centre of excellence in aviation and environmental management.  Collaborative projects have included:


Harnessing emerging technologies

Associate Professor Alexander DreilingIn April 2012 BAC and QUT announced the appointment of Associate Professor Alexander Dreiling as the Airport Chair of Innovation. His primary focus will be on the use of emerging technologies for improved airport operations. The project involves the design of a whole-of-airport digital strategy using social media and mobile devices to communicate with passengers, visitors, business partners, contractors, employees, communities, media and government. Ultimately, the work in this area will link with other BAC/QUT initiatives to improve airport connectivity, efficiency, flexibility and security.

Saving water, saving money

In 2004 BAC set an ambitious goal: to move beyond tokenism to achieve sustainable water management with significant social, economic and environmental benefits. Beginning as a small discrete project, the BAC-QUT research has now spawned a range of ongoing innovative programs.


Results to date include:

  1. Ongoing annual savings of around $2.4 million
  2. 82 per cent reduction in potable water consumption
  3. introduction of high-quality recycled wastewater cooling towers
The Airport Metropolis

In 2007 BAC and QUT commenced a multiple airport study to investigate the economic, land use, infrastructure and governance aspects of emerging airport city regions.


The research identified ways to reduce conflict between various on- and off-airport activities, guiding land use and future development to generate benefits for the airport and its host city, Brisbane.

Saving energy, emissions, money: strategic Energy Planning at Brisbane Airport

A QUT research team identified a range of strategies for reducing peak demand and total energy use in the DFO building as part of BAC’s drive to set ambitious sustainability benchmarks for all airport operations.


Outcomes included a detailed breakdown of energy uses in the buildings, which can be applied to more than 100 other Airport buildings; a thermal model of the DFO building; and detailed proposals for reducing energy demand and peak load in the building, including cost estimates for implementation and measurement of their benefits.

Efficient security practises: managing the human factor

This research examined factors that affect a baggage screener’s ability to perform efficiently, leading to a range of recommendations designed to improve screening at Brisbane’s Domestic and International Terminals.

Birds and planes: creating a safe airport environment for both

Brisbane Airport is a large and environmentally diverse facility, bordered by wetlands, waterways and large tracts of vegetation.


This research determined which species and habitats within the airport boundary created the greatest risk for aircraft, resulting in a sophisticated vegetation and vertebrate management strategy that attracted world-wide media and industry attention.


Ground-breaking research: new surveying techniques assist runway planning

With its size and location, Brisbane Airport poses a range of challenges for land reclamation, site preparation and construction.


This research, investigated, evaluated and reported on traditional and innovative technologies and survey methodologies appropriate for the collection of spatial data for terrain modelling over the Brisbane Airport site.

Flying robots: harnessing the power of pilotless aircraft

A world where combating terrorism, crop dusting and fire fighting can all be carried out by pilotless aircraft is drawing nearer every day.


Brisbane Airport has been selected as the site for the Australian Research Centre for Aviation Automation (ARCAA), which is a joint initiative of QUT and the CSIRO ICT Centre with major support from the Queensland Government and Boeing. ARCAA is dedicated to researching and implementing new roles for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

Brisbane Airport background