BRISBANE AIRPORT CORPORATION: BLUE SKY THINKING


While Queensland’s tourism and property markets have been eagerly anticipating the arrival of Brisbane’s second runway, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has been preparing to upscale its efforts to consume and re-energise the large landholding it controls in Australia’s TradeCoast. This strategy to actively diversify revenue streams for the aviation-related business comes at a significant time in the company’s history with most air travel halted due to the flow on effects of COVID-19.

Undeniably, these circumstances change the way balance sheets look and the appetite to spend capital similar to pre-COVID-19 rates, but this doesn’t hinder the intended outcome, it simply alters the way in which these activities are performed to ensure a smarter, more sustainable delivery model.

So, what does a new Brisbane Airport look like with greater focus on its property portfolio growth?

In the immediate future, it is about supporting the tenants onsite. Whether they be industrial tenants, retail tenants or commercial tenants. One in 100 people who live in Brisbane work at Brisbane Airport – it is an employment node and therefore keeping tenants operating post-COVID-19 lockdown is critically important not just for BAC but also for the economy and the state.

The retail segment of the property portfolio is undergoing a large master planning exercise that will likely see the outlet, convenience and homeware precinct, known as Skygate, expand its GLA by providing a brand new food and entertainment hub for locals to frequent. It is a core offering that will make Skygate a wellrounded destination and see the utilisation of the 24/7 operational benefits of being on Commonwealth land. In the meantime, Skygate is sourcing new ways to bring experiences to the precinct including exploring potential activities that could complement the existing retail offering, as well as take place in large open spaces. This would allow customers to visit, explore the precinct and maintain safe social distancing practices.

COVID-19 equally presents other opportunities for Skygate in the form of a commercial office offering. With more emphasis on home-based work, it is plausible that companies will view their commercial tenancy requirements a little differently in the future. This is where Skygate shines away from the bright lights of the CBD, but still incredibly well connected to every corner of Brisbane – allowing office staff to come and go as they need.

In the industrial space, BAC’s property portfolio bread and butter, the company will continue to deliver on a number of projects already in the pipeline including DHL Express warehouse expansion, iSeek Data Centre Stage 2 and more. It will work to continue to attract new tenants but also make investigations with potential business partners to look at different models for delivery, such as joint ventures, to target new and thriving industries to the airport.

And it wouldn’t be airport property talk without mentioning the support being provided to long-term airline business partners. BAC is working with stakeholders across many business and government organisations to assist with the current issues around limited passenger numbers and business challenges for the immediate future, as well as after the easing of fight restrictions. This might not physically mean property assets on airport land, but it is important and something that BAC is passionate about.

Beyond this, long-term, blue-sky thinking will see Brisbane Airport push for a much more cohesive property portfolio with the view to bring new and diverse uses to the airport. With that in mind, the airport landscape could change significantly in the following five, ten, 15- and 20-years post-COVID-19. After all, Brisbane Airport is the gateway to Queensland.

For more information or to make an enquiry about specific projects, please email the BAC’s property department at bneproperty@bne.com.au.