Brisbane Airport (BNE) in Australia inaugurated its new runway on 12 July with the landing of three vintage aircraft.

The ceremony also included a display of aerial acrobatics over the airfield.

BNE’s home carrier Virgin Australia operated the first flight over the runway. The flight departed to Cairns to celebrate the connection of Brisbane with the other regions.

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff said: “It is with great pride we are commissioning Brisbane’s 01L / 19R runway today, announcing it open for business.

“This is more than just a formality and a slab of very expensive asphalt. When I look at that 3.3km stretch of runway, I see hope.

“While current world challenges mean less demand right now, the timing of this opening is fortuitous. Had we been any later, the project may have been delayed significantly, creating more burden on the economy and dampening our spirits further.

“Instead, Brisbane is an ideal position to take advantage of all opportunities on the road to recovery from Covid-19.”

Brisbane’s new runway was built with an investment of approximately A$1.1bn ($764m) and is 3.3km-long and 60m-wide.

The project is said to be the biggest since the airport opened in 1988. The cost of the project is almost equal to the price paid by BAC when it bought BNE for A$1.38bn ($965m) in 1997.

In May, Brisbane Airport announced that it would introduce new flight paths from 21 May, in preparation for the the new runway’s opening.

In September 2018, Brisbane Airport concluded the construction of the first sections of the link taxiways that connect the new runway with the domestic and international terminals, as well as the rest of the airfield.