Brisbane airport signs new pact with Virgin Australia for terminal upgrades

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Virgin Australia and Brisbane Airport Corp (BAC) have signed an agreement to expand the airline's facilities at the airport and support the construction of a new runway at the airport.

The agreement will facilitate a number of upgrades to Virgin Australia's leased facilities in the domestic terminal at Brisbane airport, including an expanded lounge, new gate lounges for turboprops and additional aerobridge gates that will support the airline's Airbus A330 operations.

The upgrades will be progressively completed over the next three years, the airline says.

Virgin Australia has also agreed to a new 10-year pricing agreement with the airport, which includes support for its New Parallel Runway (NPR) project.

"This agreement demonstrates that both BAC and Virgin Australia are committed to investing in customer experience and aviation infrastructure at Brisbane airport," says carrier's chief financial officer Sankar Narayan.

"We have worked closely with BAC to achieve an outcome that is in the best interests of our customers, our shareholders and the state of Queensland".

Funding for the NPR has been a major issue for many of the carriers operating at Brisbane. The airport plans to increase passenger charges progressively over five years from October this year to fund the project, but airlines say that this amounts to pre-funding the runway which will not open until 2020.

In addition, BAC has agreed to enter into a sale and leaseback arrangement on Virgin Australia's hangar at the airport, which is expected to be completed by 30 June.