Adelaide Airport

Coordinates: 34°56′42″S 138°31′50″E / 34.94500°S 138.53056°E / -34.94500; 138.53056
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Adelaide Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerUniSuper (51%)
Hostplus (15%)
IFM Investors (15%)
Igneo Infrastructure Partners (15%)
Perron Group (4%)
OperatorAdelaide Airport Limited
LocationAdelaide Airport, South Australia
Hub for
Focus city for
Operating base for
Elevation AMSL20 ft / 6 m
Coordinates34°56′42″S 138°31′50″E / 34.94500°S 138.53056°E / -34.94500; 138.53056
YPAD is located in Greater Adelaide
YPAD is located in South Australia
YPAD is located in Australia
YPAD is located in Oceania
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 3,100 10,171 Asphalt
12/30 1,652 5,420 Asphalt
Statistics (2022/23)
Freight (Tonnes)6,500

Adelaide Airport (IATA: ADL, ICAO: YPAD) is an international, domestic, and general aviation airport, and the principal airport of Adelaide, South Australia.

It is the fifth-busiest airport in Australia measured by passengers movements, servicing more than 7.7 million passengers in FY23,[2] and is located adjacent to West Beach, approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) west of the Adelaide city centre.[3] It has been operated privately by Adelaide Airport Limited under a long-term lease from the Federal Government since 29 May 1998.[4]: p 25 

The facility covers a total area of 785 hectares (1,940 acres) of airport property.[5]

First established in 1955, a new dual international/domestic terminal was opened in 2005 which has received numerous awards, including being named the world's second-best international airport (5–15 million passengers) in 2006.[6] It was named Australia's best capital city airport in 2006, 2009 and 2011,[7] as well as being named Skytrax World Airport Awards's best regional airport in the Australia-Pacific region in 2022 and 2024.[8]


An early "Adelaide airport" was an aerodrome constructed in 1921 on 24 ha (59 acres) of land in Albert Park, now Hendon, which took over from the Northfield Aerodrome. The small facility allowed for a mail service between Adelaide and Sydney. To meet the substantial growth in aviation, Parafield Airport was developed in 1927. The demand on aviation outgrew Parafield and the current site of Adelaide Airport was selected at West Torrens (known as West Beach until 1991[9]) in January 1946.[10] An alternative site at Port Adelaide, including a seaplane facility, was considered inferior and too far from the central business district.[11] Construction began and flights commenced in 1954, with Parafield Airport being turned into a private and military aviation facility.

An annexe to one of the large hangars at the airport served as a passenger terminal until the Commonwealth Government provided funds for the construction of a temporary building.[12]

Passengers boarding from the tarmac in December 1967; this continued for domestic passengers until 2006.

In May 1998, Adelaide Airport Limited purchased the long-term leases of Adelaide Airport and Parafield Airport from the Government of Australia. The consortium comprised Manchester Airport, Serco, UniSuper and Macquarie Bank.[13] As at December 2023, the shareholders of Adelaide Airport Limited were UniSuper (51%), Hostplus (15%), IFM Investors (15%), Igneo Infrastructure Partners (15%) and Perron Group (4%).[14]

In July 1998, the runway was extended by 570 metres to 3.1 kilometres.[15] In October 2005 a dual-use facility replaced both the original domestic and international terminals.[16] The old domestic terminal was closed shortly after the new terminal was opened to flights and was demolished not long after. A new control tower was built west of the current terminal with the old control tower maintained for additional operations.

In October 2006, the new terminal was named the Capital City Airport of the Year at the Australian Aviation Industry Awards in Cairns.[17] In March 2007, Adelaide Airport was rated the world's second-best airport in the 5–15 million passengers category at the Airports Council International (ACI) 2006 awards in Dubai.[18]

Plans were announced for an expansion of the terminal in July 2007, including more aerobridges and demolition of the old International Terminal.[19]

On 5 August 2008 Tiger Airways Australia confirmed that Adelaide Airport would become the airline's second hub which would base two of the airline's Airbus A320s by early 2009.[20] On 29 October 2009 Tiger announced it would be housing its third A320 at Adelaide Airport from early 2010.[21] Tiger Airways later shut down its operations from Adelaide only to recommence them in 2013.[22]

In 2011 the airport encountered major problems during the eruption of Puyehue volcano in Chile. The ash cloud caused flights to be cancelled nationwide, with over 40,000 passengers stranded in Adelaide.[23]

On 11 October 2022, it was discovered that at around 10am local time, security screening equipment had failed half an hour earlier, leading to the evacuation of the terminal and re-screening of approximately 2,000 passengers.[24]

In 2023, Jetstar based two of their Airbus A321LR at Adelaide.


Qatar Airways have served Adelaide Airport daily since 2016

International services became regular from 1982 upon the construction of an international terminal.

The original international terminal had only two aircraft bays and a single jetbridge, with limited space for passengers. Check-in desks were small and waiting space was limited. It was replaced in 2005, and demolished in 2018 to make way for expanded landside facilities and a future expansion of the main terminal.[25]

On 18 December 2018, Singapore Airlines upgraded their Singapore to Adelaide flight from the Airbus A330-300 to the new Airbus A350-900 fitted with their dual-class regional configuration.[26]

Fiji Airways also upgraded their new Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft on the Nadi to Adelaide route,[27] but due to the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft, switched to the Boeing 737-800.

In late 2018 and early 2019, China Southern, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airlines increased their services to Adelaide Airport to accommodate the increase in demand.[28]

Antonov and Atlas Air freighters make yearly appearances at Adelaide Airport, despite not being a major cargo hub

The airport is also a heavy cargo destination for Volga-Dnepr Airlines[citation needed], who require 2,500 m (8,200 ft) of runway for the Antonov cargo plane.[citation needed]

Over the financial year 2018–2019, Adelaide Airport experienced passenger growth of 7% internationally and 1.3% for domestic and regional passengers[28] from 2017's quarterly report;[3] this added up to a new record number of passengers who passed through Adelaide Airport at 8,090,000 over the financial year. Adelaide Airport also experienced the greatest international growth out of any Australian port.[3]

In July 2020, Emirates, China Southern and Cathay Pacific announced their suspension of services to Adelaide Airport due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Emirates announced they would return to Adelaide on the 28th October 2024.[29]

In October 2023 Adelaide Airport released its 2050 Network Vision, in which the airport hopes to have direct flight connection to 39 global cities, with some notable cities including Los Angeles, London, and Johannesburg among others. In order to achieve this the airport is planning a significant expansion of its current facilities to cater for more international flights. [30]

Present terminal building[edit]

The airport was redeveloped at a cost of $260 million and opened 8 October 2005.[31] The redevelopment was managed by builders Hansen Yuncken. Before the redevelopment, the old airport terminal was criticised for its limited capacity and lack of aerobridges.[citation needed]

Proposals were developed for an upgraded terminal of world standard. The final proposal, released in 1997, called for a large, unified terminal in which both domestic and international flights would use the same terminal. A combination of factors, the most notable of which was the collapse of Ansett Australia, then a duopoly domestic carrier with Qantas, and the resultant loss of funds for its share of the construction cost, saw the new terminal plans shelved until an agreement was reached in 2002. [citation needed]

View of the arrivals hall

The new terminal was opened on 7 October 2005 by the Prime Minister John Howard and South Australian Premier Mike Rann. However, Adelaide Airport Limited announced soon afterwards that only international flights would use the new facility immediately due to problems with the fuel pumps and underground pipes. These problems related initially to the anti-rusting agent applied to the insides of the fuel pumps, then to construction debris in the pipes. Although international and regional (from December 2005) aircraft were refuelled via tankers, a lack of space and safety concerns prevented this action for domestic jet aircraft, which instead continued operations at the old terminal. The re-fueling system was cleared of all debris and the new terminal was used for all flights from 17 February 2006.[32] The new airport terminal is approximately 850 m (2,790 ft) end to end and is capable of handling 27 aircraft, including an Airbus A380, simultaneously and processing 3,000 passengers per hour. It includes high-amenity public and airline lounges (Qantas, Virgin Australia & Plaza Premium International Lounge), 42 common user check-in desks and 34 shop fronts. Free wireless Internet is also provided throughout the terminal by Internode Systems, a first for an Australian airport.[33]

Vickers Vimy museum[edit]

Exterior of the Vickers-Vimy museum, Adelaide Airport

In 1919, the Australian government offered £10,000 for the first All-Australian crew to fly an aeroplane from England to Australia. Keith Macpherson Smith, Ross Macpherson Smith and mechanics Jim Bennett and Wally Shiers completed the journey from Hounslow Heath Aerodrome to Darwin via Singapore and Batavia on 10 December 1919. Their Vickers Vimy aircraft, affectionately known as "God 'Elp All Of Us", is preserved in a purpose-built climate-controlled museum inside the grounds of the airport at 34°56′29.2″S 138°31′59.5″E / 34.941444°S 138.533194°E / -34.941444; 138.533194 (Vickers Vimy Museum).[34] Due to relocation of the terminal buildings, the museum is now situated inside the long-term car park. In 2019, the state and federal government committed $2 million each towards a new preservation facility inside the airport's $165 million terminal expansion.[35]

Recent development[edit]

Check-in hall interior
Airside waiting area

In February 2011, a A$100 million building program was launched as part of a five-year master plan, including a new road network within the airport, a multi-storey car park, increasing short-term parking spaces from 800 to 1,650 (completed August 2012[36]); a new plaza frontage for the passenger terminal (completed March 2013[citation needed]); a walkway bridge connecting new car park and existing terminal building (completed March 2013[citation needed]); terminal concourse extension; three new aerobridges; terminal commercial projects and passenger facilities; relocation of regional carrier Rex.[37]

In July 2013, Adelaide Airport became the first Australian airport and second airport worldwide to have Google Street View technology, allowing passengers to explore the arrival and departure sections of the airport before travel.[38]

A new control tower, at 44 metres (144 ft) high, more than twice the height of the old tower built in 1983 and costing A$16.9 million, was completed and commissioned in August 2013.[39]

In January 2015, the Adelaide Airport Master Plan 2014 was approved by the Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development.[40]

In September 2016, a relocation and major upgrade was completed for the base of the central service region of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.[41] The base houses many Pilatus PC-12 and one Pilatus PC-24, maintenance hangars and ambulance bays.[42]

The Atura Hotel (37 m [121 ft] tall, nine levels) was completed in September 2018.[43]

In late 2018 and early 2019, Adelaide Airport commenced a $165 million terminal expansion project, increasing the length of the terminal, adding more duty-free and shopping outlets, and increasing international capacity. The upgrades are set to be completed by 2021. The old international terminal was also demolished in 2019, after lying empty for many years.[44]

In early 2020, Adelaide Airport opened a newly updated concourse which was finished in December 2019,[45] New Shops include Penfolds Wine Bar & Kitchen, Precinct Adelaide Kitchen, Soul Origin, Boost Juice, Lego Kaboom and Airport Pharmacy. In October 2023 it was announced that the Penfolds Wine Bar & Kitchen would close and be replaced with the ADL Grounds Bar [46]

Lucerne to cool runways[edit]

A world-first project that lowers runway temperatures by growing commercial crops irrigated by recycled water was trialled at Adelaide Airport, with the first trial completed in 2019. By planting 4 hectares (9.9 acres) of various crops and testing the effects of each on runway temperature, the scientists found that tree lucerne was most successful, leading to a reduction of an average 3 °C in average ambient air temperatures on warm days, in and around the irrigation areas. Not only was the lucerne the best performer compared with tall fescue, couch grass and kikuyu, but it can also be cut into hay and sold as stock feed. The Airport is creating a business case to extend the project to cover 200 hectares (490 acres) of airport land.[47]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Air New Zealand Auckland[48]
Alliance Airlines Charter: Moomba, Olympic Dam[49]
Batik Air Denpasar (ends 22 July 2024)[50]
Emirates Dubai–International (resumes 28 October 2024)[51]
Fiji Airways Nadi[52]
Jetstar Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Denpasar, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Proserpine (begins 1 September 2024),[53] Sunshine Coast,[54] Sydney
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
National Jet Express Charter: Carrapateena, Perth, Port Augusta, Prominent Hill
Qantas Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
QantasLink Albury,[55] Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Kingscote,[56][57] Melbourne, Mount Gambier, Newcastle,[58] Port Lincoln, Townsville,[59] Whyalla
Seasonal: Hobart[59]
Qatar Airways Doha[60]
Rex Airlines Brisbane,[61] Broken Hill, Ceduna, Coober Pedy, Melbourne, Mount Gambier, Perth (begins 28 June 2024),[62] Port Lincoln, Sydney[63]
Singapore Airlines Singapore
VietJet Air Ho Chi Minh City[64]
Virgin Australia Alice Springs,[65] Brisbane, Cairns,[66] Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Seasonal: Hobart, Launceston
Virgin Australia Regional Airlines Perth


Qantas Freight[67] Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Toll Group[citation needed] Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
Virgin Australia Cargo[68] Melbourne

Traffic and statistics[edit]

Busiest domestic routes – Adelaide Airport (2022)[69]
Rank Airport Passengers % change
1 Melbourne 2,053,697 Increase 220.4%
2 Sydney 1,410,615 Increase 168.8%
3 Brisbane 713,245 Increase 58.0%
4 Perth 486,279 Increase 52.6%
5 Gold Coast 223,256 Increase 55.9%
6 Port Lincoln 170,262 Increase 20.0%
7 Canberra 154,002 Increase 76.6%
Busiest international routes – Adelaide Airport (year end December 2023)[70]
Rank Airport Passengers % Change
1 Denpasar 241,574 Increase 228.0%
2 Singapore 226,642 Increase 63.2%
3 Doha 168,218 Increase 138.7%
4 Kuala Lumpur 134,449 Increase 152.9%
5 Auckland 86,713 Increase 75.2%
6 Nadi 21,434 Increase 103.6%
7 Ho Chi Minh City 2,084 Increase N/A

Annual passengers[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at ADL airport. See Wikidata query.
Annual passenger statistics for Adelaide Airport[71]
Year Domestic International Total Change
1998 3,789,458 223,035 4,012,493 Increase 4.3%
1999 3,860,910 241,014 4,101,924 Increase 2.2%
2000 3,963,159 270,099 4,233,258 Increase 3.2%
2001 4,182,480 241,844 4,424,324 Increase 4.5%
2002 3,994,310 224,351 4,218,661 Decrease -4.6%
2003 4,384,095 206,849 4,590,944 Increase 8.8%
2004 4,839,885 286,083 5,125,968 Increase 11.7%
2005 5,261,677 334,298 5,595,975 Increase 9.2%
2006 5,592,313 400,489 5,992,802 Increase 7.1%
2007 5,906,429 455,149 6,361,578 Increase 6.2%
2008 6,270,369 479,679 6,750,048 Increase 6.1%
2009 6,340,348 501,399 6,841,747 Increase 1.4%
2010 6,758,251 532,392 7,290,643 Increase 6.6%
2011 6,438,334 583,073 7,021,407 Decrease -3.7%
2012 6,416,815 650,077 7,066,892 Increase 0.6%
2013 6,574,289 799,585 7,373,874 Increase 4.3%
2014 6,731,599 967,265 7,698,864 Increase 4.4%
2015 6,799,781 871,388 7,671,169 Decrease -0.4%
2016 6,995,994 924,179 7,920,173 Increase 3.2%
2017 7,148,959 962,975 8,111,934 Increase 2.4%
2018 7,320,342 1,025,961 8,346,303 Increase 2.9%
2019 7,387,579 1,128,592 8,516,171 Increase 2.0%
2020 2,348,454 240,959 2,589,413 Decrease -69.6%
2021 3,031,107 35,688 3,066,795 Increase 18.4%
2022 6,006,859 409,977 6,416,836 Increase 109.2%
2023 7,116,372 881,114 7,997,486 Increase 24.6%


Busiest international freight routes into and out of Adelaide Airport
(YE June 2011)[72]
Rank Airport Tonnes % Change
1 Singapore 10,995.7 Decrease10.8
2 Hong Kong 3,413.2 Decrease8.8
3 Kuala Lumpur 2,984.4 Increase1.9
4 Auckland 449.4 Decrease11.8

Ground transport[edit]

Bus stop, Adelaide Airport

Adelaide Metro operates frequent JetBus services connecting the airport to a number of popular locations across metropolitan Adelaide, including the CBD.[73]

Routes J1[74] and J2[75] operate between the northern and the western and southern suburbs, via the CBD and airport – popular areas such as Westfield Tea Tree Plaza, Glenelg and Harbour Town are serviced. Bus stops U1 on the south side of Grenfell Street and W1 on the south side of Currie Street are convenient for catching the J1 and J2 to the airport.

Routes J7[76] and J8[77] operate between the airport and Westfield West Lakes and Westfield Marion, and do not go near the city.

Taxis and rental cars are also available near the terminal building.

Plans to build a rail line to the airport have been cancelled.[78]


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External links[edit]