Flying Gets More Paw-sitive: Therapy Dogs take Over Brisbane Airport

Therapy dogs have been introduced to the terminals at Brisbane Airport to help soothe stressed travellers’ pre-flight jitters. 

Read: Teens Attempting to Steal Vehicle From Banyo Residence Tracked by Dog Squad

For two days on July 11 and 12, certified therapy dogs Cooper, Kevin, and their canine cohorts were stationed in the airport’s domestic terminal to provide calming, furry comfort to passengers.

The tail-wagging therapy team came courtesy of Therapy & Support Animals Australia, an organisation that trains and handles dogs for animal-assisted interventions. 

Photo credit: Therapy & Support Animals Australia/Facebook

Handler Nikki Bignell accompanied Cooper, a friendly Labradoodle, Kevin the cuddly Sheepadoodle, and the organisation’s “Stay & Train” puppy recruits as they made their rounds at the airport. The therapy puppies are completing training that may lead to future careers as service, assistance, or ongoing therapy animals.

Nikki Bignell (Photo credit: Therapy & Support Animals Australia/Facebook)

Kevin the Sheepadoodle underwent Intensive Obedience Course at the Therapy & Support Animals Australia only last January whilst Cooper completed the Therapy Certificate Course in 2021.

For many people, air travel induces anxiety and apprehension. However, research shows that focusing on a therapy animal can significantly reduce fear and anxiety.

Petting an animal for even just one minute stimulates oxytocin production, the hormone associated with bonding, trust, and positive emotions. Interacting with therapy dogs also releases endorphins, diminishing feelings of pain, depression, and loneliness.

Therapy dogs
Photo credit: Brisbane Airport/Facebook

The floppy-eared therapists seemed to work their magic at the Brisbane Airport. Many travellers broke into wide smiles and stopped to lavish attention on the dogs, giving them hearty pats and cuddles.

Read: Nundah Family Reunites With Stowaway Pet Galah

Judging by the crowds drawn to Cooper, Kevin, and crew this week, it seems clear that therapy dogs have a bright future in airport customer service. Their ability to lift spirits and lower stress before flights is a welcome service for travellers. Future airport visits to train other therapy dogs may be scheduled soon.

Published 15-July-2023

Future of $1-B Site Unclear After Brisbane Auto Mall Cancellation

The $1 billion Brisbane Auto Mall project has been cancelled after years in development, Brisbane Airport Corporation and automotive retailer AP Eagers announced this week.

Read: BNE Auto Mall Needs Track and Event Operator

The ambitious project was first announced in 2015, with plans for a massive automotive precinct featuring a 2.4km test track designed by racing legend Mark Skaife. 

A conference space, multi-use centres, dining spaces, commercial offices, dealership facilities leased by AP Eagers, and a viewing deck were also part of the plans for the 400-hectare site, located just right next to the airport.

Brisbane Auto Mall
Artist’s visualisation of the now-cancelled Auto Mall project (Photo credit: Brisbane Airport/YouTube screengrab)

Back in 2021, BAC even sought operators for the Auto Mall, dubbed as the largest non-aviation project of the corporation. They have also released a fly-through video, which is now no longer displayed on the company’s YouTube account.

In a joint statement, the developers cited “a number of factors, including the tricky economics of operating a track” as reasons for pulling the plug on the project. The total amount spent on planning and early construction of the Auto Mall over the past seven years was not disclosed.

Brisbane Auto Mall
Photo credit: BNE Property /

“A mutual decision has been made to not proceed with the Auto Mall project at Brisbane Airport,” the statement read. 

Whilst the test track portion faced funding issues, Brisbane Airport Corporation said it remains committed to developing the large site near the airport into a multi-purpose commercial and entertainment precinct.

“This site is three times larger than South Bank Parklands, so it is important for us to take the time to plan this area right,” said Martin Ryan, executive general manager of Brisbane Airport Corporation.

Read: Brisbane Airport Unveils Plans for New $1 Billion Terminal

The cancellation marks a major setback for the ambitious Auto Mall project after years of planning and investment, leaving the future of the site unclear. Both Brisbane Airport and AP Eagers say they remain open to re-exploring opportunities for the 400-hectare site.

Published 14-July-2023

Hydrogen Flight Alliance Launches at Brisbane Airport, Propelling Australia’s Green Aviation Industry

In a major step towards a sustainable aviation future, key players in the Australian aviation and green hydrogen industries have officially launched the Hydrogen Flight Alliance (HFA) at Brisbane Airport. 

The alliance aims to position Australia as a leading player in the aviation industry’s transition towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Their primary objective is to enable Australia’s first commercial emission-free hydrogen-powered flight between Brisbane Airport and Gladstone Airport by 2026. 

Skytrans Airlines, in collaboration with Stralis Aircraft, will operate this route using a 15-seat Stralis B1900D-HE aircraft specifically designed and built in Brisbane. The groundbreaking aircraft will emit only water vapour, marking a significant milestone in sustainable air travel. 

Stralis Aircraft also plans to initiate flight testing of its hydrogen-electric-powered 6-seat Beechcraft Bonanza demonstrator aircraft in early 2024. These flights, which will take place in South East Queensland, will provide valuable real-world experience in operating and refuelling hydrogen aircraft for the alliance.

The Hydrogen Flight Alliance brings together leading Australian organizations dedicated to developing the necessary hydrogen flight ecosystem to support the operation of domestically manufactured, emission-free aircraft. Its formation sets out to establish a clean technology innovation hub in Queensland, creating world-class jobs, training programs, and emission-free aircraft manufacturing opportunities. 

As Brisbane prepares for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be a climate-positive event, the HFA aims to realize the vision of transporting athletes across Queensland during the games using locally built, emission-free aircraft.

Green hydrogen holds immense potential for decarbonising air travel. However, challenges related to fuel availability at scale, future cost, and airport supply infrastructure must be overcome. 

Hydrogen Flight Alliance
Photo Credit: Supplied

Commercial hydrogen-electric aircraft will undergo design, testing, and certification by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to ensure safety standards equivalent to conventional aircraft. To remain competitive in the global race to decarbonise, Australia requires strong government incentives comparable to initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act in the United States, which have helped other countries build robust emission reduction technology industries.

“Queensland’s green hydrogen industry is the next frontier in a world hungry for renewables and is our greatest climate, jobs, and economic opportunity in a generation,” Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables, and Hydrogen, the Honourable Mick de Brenni MP, said.

“Green hydrogen will be a game-changer in decarbonizing heavy haulage, shipping, manufacturing, and aviation while also slashing emissions and helping tackle climate change.”

“Brisbane is the perfect testing ground for zero-emissions aircraft,” Raechel Paris, Executive General Manager, Governance & Sustainability at Brisbane Airport Corporation, said.

About the Hydrogen Flight Alliance Members

  • Stralis Aircraft specializes in designing and manufacturing emission-free hydrogen-electric aircraft in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Skytrans Airlines, part-owned by Former Queensland and Cowboys star Johnathan Thurston, is an Australian-owned and operated airline that provides RPT and charter services from Cairns, Horn Island, and Brisbane.
  • Brisbane Airport Corporation is committed to creating a sustainable, world-leading airport and collaborating with partners across the aviation industry to protect the planet.
  • Gladstone Airport Corporation delivers a world-class regional airport experience and fosters aviation growth for the benefit of the Gladstone Region.
  • Aviation Australia is a world-class registered training organization and the only Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved training organization in Australia.
  • BOC covers the entire hydrogen value chain, from generation and liquefaction to transportation, storage solutions, and hydrogen-powered vehicle refuelling.
  • H2 Energy Company (h2ec) is dedicated to improving the future climate and delivering a cleaner future through comprehensive green hydrogen supply solutions.
  • Griffith University, through its multidisciplinary Climate Ready Initiative, brings teaching, research, and policy expertise to the alliance, with a focus on climate change research and preparedness.
  • Central Queensland University offers the Aviation for the Future program online, at Cairns Airport, and through flight school partners across Australia.

Published 4-July-2023

Brisbane Airport Unveils Plans for New $1 Billion Terminal

Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has unveiled plans to build a new and massive airport terminal in North Brisbane, permanently closing the existing international terminal to merge all domestic and international travels into a single billion-dollar facility. 

The new L-shaped terminal, to be set on a 250,000 square meter area, will be built parallel to the recently opened runway that will connect to the domestic terminal. The facility will have a sustainable green building with modern features, including retail options and self-service operations.

However, the new terminal’s design will still be finalised by the Brisbane Airport Development and Design Integrity Panel following community consultation. BAC aims to complete the terminal’s construction in 2032 but the timeline may be pushed forward once Brisbane has been made officially confirmed as the host of the 2032 Olympic Games, per Michael Jarvis, the head of planning at the BAC.

Mr Jarvis said that the Brisbane Airport Master Plan, approved by the Australian Government in March 2020, will open direct international routes, further connecting Brisbane to the world.  He added that the project is something that airlines, especially Australia-based airlines, have been asking for.

Photo Credit: Brisbane Airport Corporation Master Plan

The master plan also includes a potential monorail loop that will connect to the buildings to make it easier for people to get around. This mass transit system will replace the buses that service the passengers and staff as it will not be enough if the airport reaches 50 million passengers a year.

Brisbane currently runs the third busiest airport in Australia with the second runway completed in July 2020. Its facilities are comparable to some of the busiest international airports, such as the Singapore Changi Airport and Hong Kong International Airport.

Paul Coughlan, the head of infrastructure development said that the plans are in line with the country’s policies to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 and as air travel rebounds from the pandemic. 

Newstead Brewing Co to Open New Branch at Brisbane Airport

Renowned Brisbane brewery and restaurant Newstead Brewing Co has set their sights on opening a branch at Brisbane Domestic Airport in July 2021. 

The new venue, which is estimated to open later in July 2021, can be distinguished from the other Newstead Brewing Co venues in Newstead and Milton by the audience it caters to.

It will be solely available to travellers who are about to depart from the airport. The branch was originally scheduled to open in the middle of 2020, however complications brought about by COVID-19 forced a delay.

The new airport venue will be able to accommodate approximately 100 people with furniture and decals that adhere to the brand’s signature industrial aesthetic. 12 different beers will be available via tap, however none of their liquor will be brewed on-site. 

Customers can expect to see classic options from their menu like their smoky grilled beef burger with butter lettuce and tomato, their chicken parmigiana made with smoked mozzarella, as well as their share plates such as lamb rump with carrot puree, or their smoked short rib made with bourbon glaze and creamed corn.

Photo credit: Instagram/Newstead Brewing Co

The Newstead Brewing Co branch at Brisbane Domestic Airport can be found at Airport Dr, Brisbane Airport. For more information, visit their website. Follow their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates on drinks, meals, deals, and other special announcements concerning the upcoming branch.

Detector Dog Ulf Declared Top Dog By The Aussie Government

Ulf, a Brisbane Airport-based detector dog for the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, has been given the 2020 Top Dog award for his outstanding performance in keeping the country’s agriculture safe.

Ulf, one of 42 biosecurity detector dogs working across Australia’s international airports, is a six-year-old yellow labrador who works hard to keep the country safe from products that could harbor disease, viruses, or even invasive species of bugs and flora.

According to his 2020 statistics, he boasts over 400 recorded detections, spotting over 80 different commodities such as fruits and meats that could have potentially been biosecurity risks.

Over the past year, Ulf has been hard at work at Brisbane airport, Brisbane mail facilities, and Port of Brisbane. Throughout his career, he’s managed to sniff out a series of strange discoveries such as the seeds of foreign plants hidden away inside a booklet, brown marmorated stink bugs living inside an imported forklift, and even cactus seeds. 

Thanks to his efforts and reliability, Ulf has been declared “Top Dog of 2020” by the Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. 

Ulf posing for the camera as he receives his Top Dog award.
Photo credit: Facebook/Australian Biosecurity

Biosecurity detector dogs play an important role in keeping the country safe from contagious foreign diseases. David Littleproud, the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management has stated that any of the 13,500 risk items these dogs detected over the past year could have threatened Australia’s environment, agriculture, and community health. 

In 2020 alone, detector dogs were able to screen 15,706,488 mail items nationally. “There are currently 42 biosecurity detector dogs working across our international airports, mail facilities and wharves to screen incoming passengers and goods for potential biosecurity risks, including those that carry exotic pests and diseases” says Mr Littleproud, who adds that dogs are both man’s best friend, and that detector dogs are therefore agriculture’s best friend. 

Throughout his career, Ulf managed to detect 27 different cases of African swine fever, a contagious and viral disease that was fatal to pigs and boars. Thanks to his help, biosecurity was able to issue infringements, sparing swine across the country from a potential epidemic. 

Given his expertise, Ulf has been described as “reliable” and an “allrounder”, and his adaptability and diligence earned him the title of Top Dog 2020.