Airport monorail could be running in 10 years

A raised monorail could carry 2000 people an hour between Brisbane's domestic and international terminals and yet-to-be-built parking facilities in 10 years' time.

By 2034, the monorail's capacity could jump to 3200 passengers an hour, Brisbane Airport Corporation head of airport development Mark Willey said.

The first phase of the monorail would not link down to the retail section of the airport near the Gateway Motorway - where Brisbane City Council buses run - for at least 15 years.

Instead it is planned to connect new "long-stay" public parking and staff parking zones, to the north of the international terminal, to the domestic and international terminals.

It will be used mainly to shift the 30 million passengers and 50,000-strong workforce around the airport in the future.

"It will run between the domestic and international terminals, and then to the west where we are developing a lot of parking facilities," he said.

"That is both staff parking and, in the future, an alternate public parking opportunity."

A new high-tech "transport interchange" would be built opposite the international terminal on Airport Drive and linked into the monorail service, he said.

In the future, passengers' bags could be processed at this "transport interchange" before travellers board the monorail bound for their terminal. New stations can be added as the airport grows.


The details are in a $2.5 billion, 20-year Brisbane Airport master plan unveiled Monday.

Brisbane's airport planners expect the number of passengers to increase from 22 million to 49 million a year and the workforce to increase from 21,000 to 50,000 by 2034.

"[A monorail] is typical of the type of infrastructure you see at an airport where there is between 30 million and 40 million annual passengers," Mr Willey said.

"It is likely to be an elevated system, so it keeps it away from the other roads and the constraints imposed by the other developments on the airport."

The actual design - and whether passengers paid per trip , or paid when they parked - would not be finalised for some years, possibly in the next five-year BAC master plan, he said.

"But what we've done is ensure that we've allowed for the reservation of the corridor to be connected to - and between - our terminals in the future," he said.

Brisbane's new parallel runway, expected to be ready by 2020, would also add an extra 990 flights a day.

Although maps show the monorail might eventually link to the retail and commercial section - where council buses run - this was not included in the first phase of the monorail, Mr Willey said.

"That is something that we would not discount for the very long-term future, but it is not something that we would contemplate in the first stages of delivering the system," he said.

Mr Willey said the state agreement with Airtrain until the 2030s still imposed constraints on the bus services offered at the airport.

"Whether that agreement changes and allows more bus services into the airport into the future, we're not certain of, but we will continue to push for more public service offerings into the airport," he said.

Brisbane Airport Corporation will begin to move passengers between the domestic airport, international airport and new car parking facilities by bus before the monorail begins in 10 years.

"So you are talking the mid-2020s," he said.

Mr Willey said in five years, Brisbane's first "regional lounge" would be built to the north-west of the domestic terminal to host Queensland's turbo-prop regional airlines such as Qantaslink.