Our investment strategy is to build a diversified portfolio of assets that balances investment returns and risks. This includes investing in unlisted infrastructure assets, such as Brisbane Airport.
Brisbane Airport stats: 2016/2017
31 international destinations
52 domestic destinations
5.6 million international passengers
16.2 million domestic passengers
42,868 tonnes of air cargo imported
69,621 tonnes of air cargo exported
Here we take a closer look at Brisbane Airport and discover why it represents an important role super funds play in securing the nation’s infrastructure.
About Brisbane Airport
Brisbane Airport started operation in 1988, with the international terminal opening in 1995. Located 12 km from the Brisbane CBD, it has two major terminals and houses 32 airlines which fly to 83 domestic and international destinations.
It is the largest airport in Australia by land size (2,700 ha) and the third-largest airport in Australia by passenger numbers.
It is also home to around 480 businesses offering services such as freight and aircraft handling, warehousing, transport and communications, manufacturing, research, property and infrastructure development, education and training, recreation, tourism, accommodation, leisure, and retail.
Collectively, these businesses employ more than 23,000 people — a number expected to grow to over 50,000 by 20291.
Who owns Brisbane Airport?
In 1997, Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited (BAC) — a private, unlisted Queensland company — purchased a long-term 49-year lease of Brisbane Airport from the Commonwealth for $1.4 billion. This included the option for a 50-year lease extension.
Under this leasehold tenure, BAC has ownership and control of the airport until 2096.
MTAA Super currently owns 4.9 per cent of BAC on behalf of our members. Other stakeholders include major Australian and international organisations and significant institutional investors.
Why we invest in Brisbane Airport
MTAA Super is committed to quality long-term infrastructure and building investments in Australia.
Brisbane Airport is recognised as a leading airport. It was voted Best Airport in Australia/Pacific in the 2016 and 2017 Skytrax World Airport Awards and is currently ranked 16th in the World’s Top 100 Airports list.
It was also named Australasia’s Leading Airport in the 2016 World Travel Awards and has been rated Australia’s No. 1 airport for quality of service for 14 consecutive years2.
Brisbane Airport is also still growing. By 2034, the airport is expected to contribute $8.2 billion to the Queensland economy and $13.4 billion to the Australian economy each year.
Forecasts indicate passenger numbers will also increase from 22.7 million in 2017 to around 50 million by 2035.
To meet this demand and increase the airport’s capacity, BAC is investing $1.3 billion to build a new 3,300-metre-long parallel runway. The runway will open in 2020 and is expected to serve community needs for many years ahead.
The benefits of investing in infrastructure
Broadly speaking, investing in unlisted infrastructure assets like Brisbane Airport benefits our members on two fronts.
Firstly, the extended lease agreement gives the fund access to a potential long-term income stream while also providing a buffer against short-term share market fluctuations.
Secondly, with an aging population and a shrinking workforce, our future prosperity will increasingly rely on our ability to produce more with fewer workers3. To do this we need reliable, safe, and efficient infrastructure to move people and goods throughout Australia.
By investing in assets like airports, we can help secure Australia’s national competitiveness and productivity. Greater productivity generates higher wages, higher super contributions, and ultimately a more comfortable and self-sufficient retirement for more Australians4.
Our investment in infrastructure can also reduce pressure on public infrastructure spending. For example, current Brisbane Airport upgrades including the $1.3 billion for the new parallel runway, are 100 per cent funded by BAC shareholders, at no expense to the public purse.
Overall, investing in infrastructure ensures the economy has every opportunity to continue to grow and that our members will continue to have access to a high standard of living.
Sources: 1 Brisbane Airport Corporation Annual Report 2017. 2 Airport Monitoring Report 2016–17, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. 3 The Role of Superannuation in Building Australia’s Future, Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. 4 Nation Building and Infrastructure, industrysuperaustralia.com/campaigns/nationbuilding-and-infrastructure (accessed 11 July 2018), Industry Super Australia. 5 The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) Airport Traffic Data (1985 to 2017).