Plan for the worst and expect the best. That’s the credo of Stephen Goodwin, who’s overseeing the G20 Summit airport movements.

Like a tightly-wound Formula One pit crew director, Brisbane Airport Corporation General Manager of Operations Stephen Goodwin is fine-tuned for the event of his career, when the first of the 20 world leaders lands here on November 13 for the G20 Summit.

Goodwin oversees 85 people in his team, 20 of whom have been assigned to run all aspects of the airport within-an-airport that has been set up as part of the most tightly-planned security operation the city has undergone.

Goodwin explains the 4000 G20 personnel attending the summit will arrive and leave via a specially gazetted 90-hectare special purpose zone within the perimeter of the present airport, leaving the main airport to operate with minimum disruption.

“Within this airport-with-an-airport, we will handle all the aircraft movement, passenger processing, freight, security, fuelling, transport and landside traffic of any airport demand,” he says.

The up-cycled terminal is constructed around the shell of the former international terminal which was built in the 70s, and more recently served as a logistics hangar for DHL Express freight. It had been facing demolition, but was salvaged to house this massive and intense task.

“It is the biggest logistical operation I have ever done,” Goodwin says. “Certainly it is the most significant of my career.

“But I am confident we have every possibility covered, working on the principle of plan for the worst and expect the best,” he says.

“Each person knows their job and we feel sure we can do it safely, smoothly and efficiently. Each arrival and departure procedure has been broken down into steps so everything is mapped.”

Goodwin says the police they’ve been coordinatng operations with have been impressed and reassured by BAC’s highly-charged, efficient emergency response capability already in place.

“For many of these people who don’t normally work at the airport, it’s been a pleasant surprise for them to learn how practised we are at dealing with crises,” he says. That goes from the big and scary, like bomb threats, fires and accident to passengers taken suddenly ill.

Goodwin says he has never seen so many layers of security in the 18 years he has worked at the airport.

Many extra security staff will be added to an increased state and federal police presence. Every checkpoint will have multiple people at them.

He says the challenge for the BAC of the G20 will be more the departures than the arrivals.

“Arrivals will be staggered from Thursday November 13 to Saturday, November 15—a period of about 36 hours—we can plan those much more easily,” he says.

“The departures will be intense as they’ll all want to leave with a few hours from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning and we may be given as little as 20 minutes notice of their leaving the city.”

Passengers arriving and leaving Brisbane on Sunday November 16 between three and seven pm can expect occasional delays as flights circle to allow a G20 party priority.