Adelaide Airport

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Adelaide Airport
Adelaide Airport logo.svg
Adelaide Airport T1, Qantas check-in desks
Airport type Public
Operator Adelaide Airport Limited
Serves Adelaide
Location Adelaide Airport, South Australia
Hub for Alliance Airlines
Regional Express Airlines
Sharp Airlines
Focus city for Virgin Australia
Jetstar Airways
Elevation AMSL 20 ft / 6 m
Coordinates 34°56′42″S 138°31′50″E / 34.94500°S 138.53056°E / -34.94500; 138.53056Coordinates: 34°56′42″S 138°31′50″E / 34.94500°S 138.53056°E / -34.94500; 138.53056
ADL is located in Greater Adelaide
ADL is located in South Australia
ADL is located in Australia
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 3,100 10,171 Asphalt
12/30 1,652 5,420 Asphalt
Statistics (2016/17)
Passengers 8,090,000
Movements 103,212
Freight (Tonnes) 25 722
Sources: [1]

Adelaide Airport (IATA: ADL, ICAO: YPAD) is the principal airport of Adelaide, South Australia and the fifth busiest airport in Australia, servicing just over eight million passengers in the financial year ending 30 June 2017.[2] Located adjacent to West Beach, it is approximately 6 km (3.7 mi) west of the city centre. It has been operated privately by Adelaide Airport Limited under a long-term lease from the Commonwealth Government since 29 May 1998.[3]:p 25

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.[4] Also, it has been named Australia's best capital city airport in 2006, 2009 and 2011.[5]

Over the financial year 2016/17, Adelaide Airport experienced passenger growth of 11% internationally and 1.5% for domestic and regional passengers;[2] 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[2]


The first Adelaide airport was an aerodrome constructed in 1921 on 24 ha (59 acres) of land in Hendon. 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 (now West Beach) in January 1946.[6] An alternative site at Port Adelaide, including a seaplane facility, was considered inferior and too far from the C.B.D.[7] Construction began and flights commenced in 1954. Parafield Airport was turned into a private and military aviation facility.

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

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.[8] International services became regular from 1982 upon the construction of an international terminal. A new dual-use $260 million facility replaced both the original 'temporary' domestic and international terminals in 2005.

In October 2006, the new terminal was named the Capital City Airport of the Year at the Australian Aviation Industry Awards in Cairns.[9] 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.[10]

Plans were announced for an expansion of the terminal in July 2007, including more aerobridges and demolition of the old International Terminal.[11]

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.[12] On 29 October 2009 Tiger announced it would be housing its third A320 at Adelaide Airport from early 2010.[13] Tiger Airways later shut down its operations from Adelaide only to recommence them in 2013.[14]

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 being left stranded in Adelaide.

Previous terminals[edit]

The original international terminal had only one gate with limited space for passengers. Check in desks were small and waiting space was limited. It was partially demolished[when?] to make the area more secure and allow aircraft to park on the other side of the terminal. 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.

Present terminal building[edit]

A large crowd watches Qantas A380 VH-OQA visit Adelaide, 27 September 2008
Main concourse terminal one, 2006

The airport was redeveloped in 2005 at a cost of $260 million. 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]

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 afterward 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.[15] 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, 14 glass-sided aerobridges, 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.[16]

The first Qantas A380, VH-OQA "Nancy Bird Walton", landed at the airport on 27 September 2008, Several thousand spectators gathered to catch a glimpse of the giant aircraft. This was a 25-minute stopover before it flew on to Melbourne. This was one of several visits the airliner made as part of a pilot training and testing program.

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.[17]

Recent development[edit]

As of 2011 a series of developments are either underway, approved or proposed for Adelaide Airport. In February 2011 a A$100 million building program was launched as part of a five-year master plan. The developments which have been made public (whether part of the building plan or not) are listed below:

  • New airport road network to improve traffic flow (completed)
  • New multi-storey car park – increasing parking spaces from 800 to 1,650 (completed August 2012)[18]
  • New passenger terminal plaza frontage (completed March 2013)
  • Walkway bridge connecting new car park and existing terminal building (completed March 2013)
  • Terminal concourse extension
  • Three new aerobridges
  • Terminal commercial projects and passenger facilities
  • Relocation of regional carrier Rex
  • Relocation of old transportable charter aircraft operators' terminal
  • New control tower, twice the height of the old tower, expected to cost A$16.9 million (opened early 2012)
  • Addition of Emirates airlines, Qatar Airways, China Southern Airlines and Fiji Airways to the list of airlines serving the airport.
  • Atura Hotel (37 m (121 ft) tall, nine levels) (completion in late 2018)
  • New airside cargo facility (1500sqm)[1]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


The tarmac of the regional Gate 50
Air New Zealand Auckland
Alliance Airlines Mining Charter: Ballera,[19][20] Moomba,[19][20] Olympic Dam[21]
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou[22]
Cobham Aviation Services Australia Port Augusta, Prominent Hill Mine
Emirates Dubai–International
operated by Alliance Airlines
Fiji Airways Nadi[24]
Jetstar Airways Avalon,[25] Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Denpasar, Gold Coast, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth, Sunshine Coast,[26] Sydney
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Pel-Air Mining Charter: Jacinth-Ambrosia Mine
Qantas Alice Springs, Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney
operated by Cobham Aviation Services Australia
Brisbane,[27] Perth, Sydney
operated by Eastern Australia Airlines
Kingscote,[28][29] Port Lincoln, Whyalla
Qatar Airways Doha[30]
Regional Express Airlines Broken Hill, Ceduna, Coober Pedy, Kingscote, Mildura, Mount Gambier, Port Augusta,[31] Port Lincoln, Whyalla
Sharp Airlines Mining Charter: Beverley Uranium Mine, Honeymoon Uranium Mine, Leigh Creek, Moomba, Prominent Hill Mine
Singapore Airlines Singapore
Tigerair Australia Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney
Virgin Australia Alice Springs,[32] Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney

  • ^1 China Southern began services to Adelaide on 13 December 2016.[33]
  • ^2 Qatar Airways began services to Adelaide on 3 May 2016.[34]


Australian air Express
operated by Cobham
Melbourne, Sydney
Cathay Pacific Cargo Hong Kong
Emirates Sky Cargo
operated by Atlas Air
MASkargo Kuala Lumpur, Sydney
Qantas Freight Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore
Qantas Freight
operated by Atlas Air
Singapore Airlines Cargo Singapore
Toll Priority
operated by Pel-Air and Toll Aviation
Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, Canberra

Traffic and statistics[edit]


Busiest domestic routes into and out of Adelaide Airport (2017)[35]
Rank Airport Passengers % change
1 Melbourne 2,456,426 Increase 2.6
2 Sydney 1,898,268 Increase 1.4
3 Brisbane 849,643 Increase 2.3
4 Perth 614,141 Decrease 0.5
5 Gold Coast 214,185 Decrease 3.3
6 Canberra 181,576 Increase 4.3
7 Port Lincoln 171,499 Decrease 4.1
8 Alice Springs 124,466 Increase 3.1