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Runway questions raised as Coast jets diverted to Brisbane

Low cloud brought on by a recent low which dumped heavy rainfall across the region caused several flights to be diverted from Sunshine Coast Airport this week.

Six commercial flights were diverted from Sunshine Coast Airport to Brisbane Airport on Monday due to low clouds in the region.

It sparked speculation from aviation industry sources that the flights may have been able to land had the previous runway 18/36 remained in commission.

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It was decommissioned as part of the installation of the new 2450m, $334m runway which was opened in June, 2020.

An Airservices Australia spokeswoman said safety was the organisation's first priority and the flights were diverted due to limited visibility.

McDermott Aviation managing director Simon McDermott said the chief pilot of his fixed-wing aircraft had reported clear conditions on the Coast and told him the diverted planes would've been able to land on the old runway.

Sunshine Coast Airport's head of corporate relations Ayllie White said that was not the case.

"The southern section of the former runway 18/36 was repurposed as a taxiway to serve the southern apron area as part of the council's (Sunshine Coast Council) Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project, including parking for a future Code E aircraft," Ms White said.

"A shortened runway on the old northern alignment would not have been able to accommodate the jet traffic that was diverted on Monday."