In January 2013, Brisbane Airport held the dubious honour of being the worst metropolitan hub for on-time arrivals in the country.

A total 26,992 flights delayed in 2012 affected more than 2.5 million passengers.

The growing tide of frustration saw The Courier-Mail launch a campaign for a new runway and asked its readers to join the conversation by telling Brisbane Airport what they thought using the Twitter hashtag #bnelateagain.

CM_front page_4 March 2014Frustrated travellers, sick of flight delays and congestion, took to social media to vent their anger. Messages ranging from disappointment to outright fury littered Twitter and Facebook.

The Courier-Mail reported that the worst delays on record at Brisbane Airport were in February and, while fewer flights landed that month, more arrived late resulting in an on-time performance of just 61.5 per cent, the worst of any major airport.

Figures released by the Federal Government showed that almost 2,000 of the 5,043 flights to Brisbane arrived at least 15 minutes late and 1,399 of the 5,349 flights departed late.

bnelateagain campaignThis new low was achieved despite Airservices Australia saying that the situation had improved.

A day after the newspaper launched the #bnelateagain campaign, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney ordered a review of future airport capacity across Queensland.  Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said he would monitor this.

bnelateagain campaignThe Courier-Mail’s campaign was supported by front page stories with headlines such as “Plane Crazy – 26,992 flights delayed last year”, “Build it or Lose it” and “Flight tax”. Provocative cartoons and even an outdoor advertising campaign featuring the #bnelateagain hashtag were all part of the mix.

The paper also ran an interview with BAC Chairman Bill Grant who said he would take a dispute over the funding of a new runway to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) if agreement was not reached within weeks.

He also told newspaper readers that the airlines had rejected a $2.50 runway construction passenger levy.

A month after The Courier-Mail began its campaign, fresh data showed aircraft had spent 20.6 hours a day circling Brisbane in holding patterns in 2012, costing airlines at least $75 million in extra fuel.

The first success attributed to the #bnelateagain campaign came in May 2013 when the proportion of aircraft landing on time at Brisbane Airport at night had doubled.

Final victory for readers arrived in October, seven months after the launch of #bnelateagain with the announcement that a new parallel runway would be built to address the chronic flight congestion.

Work has started and is due to finish in less than five years.


In an earlier posted article, we incorrectly stated the Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney, ordered a review of Brisbane Airport. He ordered a review of future airport capacity across Queensland. The article also indicated the Queensland Government had decision-making rights on a second runway. It does not. We acknowledge that BNE is a privatised airport which operates under a Commonwealth Act of Parliament.  We apologise.

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