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Managing Capacity and Delays

Flight delays at Brisbane Airport have been driven by consistent growth in air travel, primarily domestic flights and unprecedented resource industry activity. Delays are mainly occurring in peak periods. Morning peak is typically between 7am and 9:30am, while the evening peak period is between 5pm and 8pm on weekdays.


The main cause of delays is the high level of demand for aircraft to land or take off at Brisbane during peak times. Over the last 12 months flights have increased by up to 80 movements per day, totalling up to 700 flights per week day. The recent growth in demand has been driven by unprecedented activity in regional flights, domestic airlines increasing the number of flights available and strong population growth.


Other factors also contribute to delays at Brisbane, including:

  • Cumulative delays across a national system - delays can build up through the day across the national airport network. For example, where an aircraft departs late in the morning, a knock-on effect can occur that affects many later flights across multiple airports, resulting in airline schedule delays.
  • Weather conditions - delays also occur due to weather conditions, either around Brisbane or at other airports.
  • Requests for urgent landings or take-offs for emergency services - medical flights have priority over all traffic and this can result in standard services being delayed. For example, the Royal Flying Doctor Service regularly operates up to 30 flights per day at Brisbane Airport.
  • Diversions of flights from other airports to Brisbane – such as services to regional airports being directed to Brisbane in bad weather.



Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) is working with airlines and Airservices Australia to minimise delays. Air Traffic is managed by Airservices Australia, who will always put safety first. Actions to address delays include:


The Airport Capacity Enhancement (ACE) program, led by Airservices Australia.

  • The goal of the ACE program is to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and to increase the utilisation of existing infrastructure in order to increase runway capacity.


The implementation of a Runway Demand Management Scheme (RDMS).

  • This scheme allocates set time slots to airlines to be used for take-off or landing and aims to spread out the demand currently experienced in peak times.


Demand and Capacity Forum

  • Brisbane Airport Corporation and Airservices Australia recently hosted a Demand and Capacity Forum in Brisbane aimed at reviewing initiatives to address delays at Brisbane Airport. The forum, which was attended by forty aviation industry leaders, was the first of its kind in Queensland.


Construction of a New Parallel Runway

  • The first phase of construction is almost complete. This phase includes clearing, construction of access roads, significant drainage works and modifications to the cross runway system that required its closure.The new runway is on schedule to be operational in 2020.


Metron Air Traffic Control Flow Management Tool

  • Airservices Australia has also recently implemented an air traffic flow management tool called ‘Metron’, which monitors the national flight network and adjusts departure times or flight plans to minimise airborne delays.


See this information as a fact sheet