Darwin International Airport
Darwin International Airport ( IATA: DRW, ICAO: YPDN) is the busiest airport serving the Northern Territory and the tenth busiest airport in Australia. It is the only airport serving Darwin. The Airport is located in Darwin, Northern Territory's northern suburbs, 13 kilometres from the Darwin city centre, in the suburb of Marrara. It shares runways with the Royal Australian Air Force's RAAF Base Darwin. 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. The airport serves over 56,000 flights and 1,813,000 passengers per year

In 1919, when the England to Australia air race was announced, Darwin Airport 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 purpose. As a result, the civilian airport at Parap was closed down and airport operations combined with the military airport. Between 1950 and 1974 Darwin Airport acted as the primary domestic and international airport for the Northern Territory and a very important stop for airlines flying between Australia, 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 stopover 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 United Nations 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.

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 2005-06 a total of 1,440,000 passengers passed through Darwin International Airport which consisted of 334,000 international passengers and 1,106,000 domestic passengers. During the 2006-07 period there was a total of 1,654,000 passengers which consisted of 372,000 international passengers and 1,282,000 domestic passengers up 35.6 per cent. During the 2007-08 period there was a total of 1,813,000 passengers. The head office of Airnorth is on the airport property.

Commercial passenger aircraft most commonly seen at Darwin International Airport include Airbus A319, A320 and A330, Boeing 717, 737 and 767, Beechcraft 1900, Fokker 100, de Havilland Canada Dash 7, Bombardier Dash 8 and Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia, and sometimes a Boeing 747. Darwin International Airport is extensively used by a wide range of general aviation aircraft as well as military aircraft that use the adjacent RAAF Base Darwin. Until they were withdrawn from service, Concorde made sporadic visits to Darwin as well, having one of the few runways long enough in Australia to handle them.

Future of Darwin Airport
Australian low-cost carrier, Jetstar Airways, has expressed a keen interest in developing Darwin Airport as a hub for its trips to Asia. With the close proximity to South-East Asia, Jetstar anticipates that it will be able to make flights using smaller aircraft, such as the Airbus A320 to fly anywhere within 4 to 5 hours from Darwin. Most of the traffic on the routes will come from southern Australian cities. This will allow one-stop flights to less popular destinations. Destinations that have been considered include Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the Philippines and Kota Kinabalu International Airport in Malaysia. 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 currently only serves Melbourne. On 8 November 2007, it was announced that it had reached agreements for a $100 million home and lifestyle centre in Darwin Airports Business Park, which will be developed by retail developer Ticor Developments. The centre is being built on eight hectares of airport land at the major intersection of Bagot Road and McMillans Road and is due for completion by the end of 2009. In April 2009, Garuda Indonesia suspended the Denpasar service from Darwin after nearly 30 years of service, citing "economic reasons". The move had been protested by the Northern Territory government. The suspension left Darwin Airport without any non-Australian carriers flying there. The Australian Infrastructure Fund (AIX) is set to be taking a $60 million expansion of Darwin International Airport to cater for growing passenger numbers. This will provide a 65 percent increase in terminal floor space. 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.



Busiest Domestic Routes out of Darwin International Airport (Year Ending October 2010)
Busiest Domestic Routes out of Darwin International Airport (Month of September 2010)

*Perth route became competitive in May 2009


Busiest International Routes out of Darwin International Airport (Year Ending June 2010)
Busiest International Routes out of Darwin International Airport (Month Ending August 2009)

Airlines and destinations

Accidents and incidents
  • On 25 December 1974, Douglas C-47B PK-RDB of Seulawah Air Services was damaged beyond economic repair by Cyclone Tracy.

Statistics for Darwin Airport Year Total Passengers International Domestic 2001-02 1,090,000 290,000 800,000 2002-03 1,085,000 210,000 875,000 2003-04 1,182,000 197,000 985,000 2004-05 1,386,000 281,000 1,105,000 2005-06 1,440,000 334,000 1,106,000 2006-07 1,654,000 372,000 1,282,000 2007-08 1,813,000 - -
Rank Airport Passengers carried % Change 1 Brisbane Airport 367,800 3.6 2 Melbourne Airport 280,600 20.0 3 Perth Airport 149,300 NA*
Rank Airport Passengers carried % Change 1 Brisbane Airport 33,300 2.7 2 Melbourne Airport 29,200 15.1 3 Perth Airport 13,700 3.4
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change 1 Singapore Changi Airport 116,621 1.2 2 Ngurah Rai International Airport 68,900 13.8 3 Tan Son Nhat International Airport 22,304 76.5
Rank Airport Passengers handled % Change 1 Singapore Changi Airport 11,150 118.9 2 Ngurah Rai International Airport 6,266 88.3 3 Tan Son Nhat International Airport 1,702 0.0 Airlines Destinations Terminal Airnorth Broome, Elcho Island, Gold Coast, Gove, Groote Eylandt, Karratha, Kununurra, Maningrida, McArthur River, Milingimbi, Mount Isa, Perth, Port Hedland Domestic Airnorth Dili International Indonesia AirAsia Denpasar/Bali International Jetstar Airways Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney Domestic Jetstar Airways Brisbane, Cairns, Denpasar/Bali, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Singapore International Qantas Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne ], Perth, Sydney Domestic Qantas operated by QantasLink Alice Springs, Cairns, Gove Domestic Skywest Airlines Broome, Perth Domestic Vincent Aviation Bathurst Island, Groote Eylandt, Cairns Domestic Virgin Blue Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth Domestic