Darwin International Airport
|Operator||Darwin International Airport Pty Ltd (DIA) / RAAF Darwin|
|Serves||Darwin, Northern Territory|
|Location||Eaton, Northern Territory|
|Focus city for||Qantas|
|Elevation AMSL||103 ft / 31 m|
Darwin Airport has an international terminal, a domestic terminal and a cargo terminal. Both of the passenger terminals have a number of shops and cafeterias.
In 2011 the airport served 26,036 flights and 1,743,734 passengers.
In 1919, when the England to Australia air race was announced, Parap Airfield was established in the suburb of Parap to act as the Australian terminal. It operated as two airports, a civilian airport and a military field.
It frequently took hits from Japanese bombing through the Second World War, and was used by the Allies to project air power into the Pacific. The airport hosted Spitfires, Hudson Bombers, Kittyhawks, C-47s, B-24 Liberators, B-17 Fortresses and PBY Catalinas.
In 1945 the Department of Aviation made the existing Darwin military airfield available for civil aviation purposes. As a result, the civilian airport at Parap was closed down and airport operations combined with the military airport.
On 20 April 1954, Soviet spy Evdokia Petrova defected at Darwin Airport while she was being escorted out of Australia by KGB agents.
Between 1950 and 1974 Darwin Airport acted as the primary domestic and international airport for the Northern Territory and an important stop for airlines flying between Australia and Asia and onwards to Europe. UTA, BOAC, Alitalia and Air India were some airlines that had scheduled services to Darwin. However the introduction of longer range aircraft in the 1970s meant that many airlines did not need to stop over in Darwin, and chose to cease services.
Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in 1974 and flattened the city. The airport was used to ferry 25,628 people out of Darwin. Darwin Airport was extensively used to assist UN operations in East Timor from 1999, and to support medical evacuations following the 2002 Bali bombings.
The new passenger terminal, with four aerobridges, was opened in December 1991.
In 2008 the Australian Infrastructure Fund (AIX), which holds 28.2% of Northern Territory Airports, announced that the airport would undergo a $60 million expansion to cater for growing passenger numbers. Among other improvements it would provide a 65 percent increase in terminal floor space.
In April 2009 Garuda Indonesia suspended the Denpasar service from Darwin after nearly 30 years of service, citing "economic reasons". The move drew protests from the Northern Territory government. The suspension left Darwin Airport without any non-Australian carriers flying there until late 2010 when Indonesia AirAsia started services from Bali to Darwin, but flights ended in January 2018.
2012 and 2013 saw a major boost for Darwin Airport when foreign carriers SilkAir, Indonesia AirAsia, Philippine Airlines and Malaysia Airlines started direct flights to Singapore, Bali, Manila and Kuala Lumpur respectively. However, the increased competition from these carriers forced Jetstar to abandon its base in Darwin Airport and focus its aircraft elsewhere.
On 9 May 2015, a new expanded terminal was officially opened. The expansion, costing $85 million, increased the floor area from 16,000 to 27,000 square metres and is expected to double the capacity of the airport at peak periods. It offers expanded arrivals and departures area, four new domestic and two new international boarding gates, additional security screening areas, a larger check-in area and a new multi-use baggage reclaim area for both domestic and international arrivals. The extended terminal also features Qantas and Virgin Australia airline lounges as well as Duty Free and other retail areas.
In March 2020, Qantas briefly operated non-stop flights between Darwin and London Heathrow. Qantas flights QF1 and QF2, which normally operated between Sydney and London via Singapore, were rerouted due to air travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Operated by an Airbus A380, passengers remained on-board during refueling in Darwin due to the Northern Territory's border restrictions which were also imposed in response to the pandemic, before onward journey to either London or Sydney.
Darwin Airport has scheduled flights to destinations in the Northern Territory, around Australia and in Southeast Asia. Only one terminal is used for both domestic and international services. The terminal has several food outlets and shops, with duty-free shopping for international travellers.
During 2008-09 financial year a total of 1,538,938 passengers passed through Darwin International Airport which consisted of 188,530 international passengers and 1,350,408 domestic passengers.
Darwin airport electricity needs are partially met by two photovoltaic solar arrays. Stage 1 covers six hectares near the eastern end of the main runway and generates up to 4.0MW of electricity, opened on 5 August 2016. At the time of construction it was described as the largest airside photovoltaic system in the world. Stage 2 provides a further 1.5 MW opened in December 2016 near the general aviation apron on the western side of the airport.
Australian low-cost carrier, Jetstar Airways, had expressed a keen interest in developing Darwin Airport as a hub for its trips to Asia. With the close proximity to Southeast Asia, Jetstar anticipated that it would be able to make flights using smaller aircraft, such as the Airbus A320 to fly anywhere within 4 to 5 hours from Darwin. Jetstar did eventually use Darwin as a base, with flights to Singapore, Bali, and Tokyo via Manila but was forced to cut back on them in May 2013. Flights to Bali were retained while flights to Singapore would now operate by Jetstar Asia with Singapore-based aircraft. New low-cost carrier Tiger Airways had also expressed interest in making Darwin Airport its second hub; however, Tiger terminated its flights from Singapore to Darwin in October 2008, and for quite some time only operated domestic flights to Melbourne, however these flights have also now been terminated. Tiger started flights from Brisbane to Darwin after starting its Brisbane base.
In December 2010 the Federal Government approved the Darwin Airport Master Plan, a 20-year blueprint of how the airport will be affected by and manage issues such as aviation growth and the rise of Darwin Airport as an international transit point between Europe, Asia and Australia.
|Rank||Airport||Passengers carried||% Change|
|2||New South Wales, Sydney||310,700||3.4|
|4||Western Australia, Perth||194,308||2.0|
|5||Northern Territory, Alice Springs||109,707||7.6|
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change|
|Airnorth|| Alice Springs, Broome, Cairns, Dili, Elcho Island, Gove, Groote Eylandt, Katherine, Kununurra, Maningrida, McArthur River Mine, Milingimbi, Tennant Creek, The Granites, Townsville |
Seasonal: Gold Coast, Perth
|Alliance Airlines||Charter: Alice Springs, The Granites|
|Fly Tiwi||Gapuwiyak, Milikapiti, Minjilang, Nguiu, Pirlangimpi, Ramingining, Tennant Creek, Warruwi|
|Jetstar Airways||Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Denpasar, Melbourne, Sydney|
|Jetstar Asia Airways||Singapore|
|Qantas|| Adelaide, Brisbane, London-Heathrow, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney |
|QantasLink||Adelaide, Alice Springs, Broome, Canberra|
|Singapore Airlines||Singapore (resumes 31 October 2021)|
|Virgin Australia|| Adelaide, Alice Springs, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney |
|Adelaide, Alice Springs, Perth|
|Tasman Cargo Airlines||Melbourne, Singapore|
|Qantas Freight||Hong Kong|