Brisbane Airport Corporation has warned of more frequent flight delays when its cross runway is closed for five months in preparation for the construction of a new $1.3 billion parallel runway.
The cross runway, known as runway 1432 and which accommodates between 5 and 7 per cent of the airport's traffic [about 23 small aircraft each day], will be closed for five months from September.
The small aircraft which use the alternate runway will be diverted on to the airport's main runway, meaning planes will take-off or land every three minutes during all but six hours of each day.
Paul Coughlan, project director of the new parallel runway, warned flight delays could increase as a result of the additional demand on the main runway, but insisted the effect would be minimal.
"Because we've got to accommodate those small aircraft on the main runway at certain times of the day it may increase delays marginally," he told 612 ABC Brisbane this morning.
"[But] we still have, for most hours of the day, a spare capacity on the [main] runway.
"It's not something new for us, or Air Traffic Control, or airlines to manage."
Mr Coughlan said the closure would not impact night services, as the cross runway was not used in the evening.
However it is understood night services were already being forced into holding patters over Brisbane for up to 40 minutes with the cross runway out of action.
"We're getting delays mainly at night for arriving aircraft," Mr Coughlan said.
The night delays could extend into the morning and afternoon peak periods with the complete closure of the cross runway.
The 20-week closure will allow critical preliminary works, including the construction of a new drain underneath the cross runway and an additional turning area, to be carried out ahead of the building of the new parallel runway, Mr Coughlan said.
The perimeter road will be realigned and some taxiways will also be moved.
Consultation with airlines is ongoing about how best to manage the closure, especially during the peak Christmas holiday period, with the possibility of rescheduling flights being discussed.
The 3300-metre long, 60-metre wide new parallel runway is not due for completion until 2020.