Launceston Airport

Coordinates: 41°32′42″S 147°12′54″E / 41.54500°S 147.21500°E / -41.54500; 147.21500
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Launceston Airport
Launceston Airport Terminal airside, 2023
Airport typePublic
OwnerLaunceston City Council
Australia Pacific Airports Corporation
OperatorAustralia Pacific Airports Corporation
Elevation AMSL562 ft / 171 m
Coordinates41°32′42″S 147°12′54″E / 41.54500°S 147.21500°E / -41.54500; 147.21500
YMLT is located in Tasmania
Location in Tasmania
Direction Length Surface
m ft
14R/32L 1,981 6,499 Asphalt
14L/32R 700 2,297 Grass
18/36 690 2,264 Grass
Statistics (2021-22)
Passenger756,684 Increase40.18%

Launceston Airport (IATA: LST, ICAO: YMLT) is a regional airport on the outskirts of Launceston, Tasmania. The airport is located in the industrial area of Western Junction 15 km (9.3 mi) from Launceston city centre. It is Tasmania's second busiest after Hobart Airport; it can also run as a curfew free airport.

In the 2018/19 financial year, the airport had a record 1.39 million passengers. The subsequent COVID pandemic had a significant effect on passenger numbers in the following period, however patronage has recovered strongly and is forecast to reach a new record in 2023/24.

Launceston Airport is Australia's 13th busiest airport.


Exterior of airport terminal, 2023

After the formation of the Tasmanian Aero Club in 1927, the first air travel facility in Tasmania was built on the site. In July 1929 the Home Territories Department acquired land at the Western Junction, then also called Valley of Springs, for a £20,400 ($41,000) aerodrome. The Western Junction Aerodrome was officially opened in 1929 and opened for use in 1930.[1] In February 1931, around 20,000 people crammed into Evandale Road to watch Colonel Brinsmead, Controller of Civil Aviation, officially open Western Junction as a government aerodrome.[citation needed] During 1932, small aircraft flew from Launceston to Flinders Island.[citation needed]

From August 1940 until late 1944, the airport was used by the Royal Australian Air Force as a base for No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School. It was Tasmania's only RAAF Base.[2] Two of the Bellman hangars from this period are still located at the airport, on the southern Freight and General Aviation operations area.

In 1962, under the leadership of Tony John, a plan for major redevelopment of the airport was approved. This included strengthening of all pavements, a runway extension, and a new terminal building.[3] The airport was officially reopened that same year as Launceston Airport. In October 1982 the runway was further upgraded to Boeing 767 standard.

In 1998, the airport was privatised, and is now owned jointly by Launceston City Council and Australia Pacific Airports Corporation. The collapse of Ansett Australia in 2001, the introduction of Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia) and Jetstar in 2001 and 2004; and the creation of the Australian low-cost airline market; have all contributed to a dramatic increase in aircraft movements at Launceston Airport. In 2007 the airport reached the milestone of one million passenger movements per year. Tiger Airways Australia also introduced services, and withdrew again in July 2010.[4]


Check-in area, 2023
Terminal waiting area, 2023
Virgin passengers embarking, 2023

Launceston Airport underwent a A$20 million redevelopment, the largest expansion in its history at the time. The project doubled the size of the terminal and was completed in November 2009.

The airport currently has a bar; James Boag Bar and Kitchen; two café outlets; Hudsons Coffee, Wilderness Espresso and a News and Gift Shop, The Launceston Store.[5][6] As part of the expansion, two new gate lounges were installed (Gate Lounges 2 and 3), with the capability for two more gate lounges when required in future. The new gate lounge area is approximately 1,200 m2 (13,000 sq ft) at apron level. The gate lounges for departing passengers were constructed along with a 100 m2 (1,100 sq ft) extension of the landside lounge floor, bringing the landside lounge area to 800 m2 (8,600 sq ft). The new departure area has a single location for all airlines' check-in operations: QantasLink, Jetstar and Virgin Australia have a total of 12 check-in counters.[6] A checked bag screening (CBS) facility is linked to these check-in counters, allowing all aircraft checked baggage to be screened as required by the Commonwealth government from 1 December 2008. A 500 m2 (5,400 sq ft) baggage arrivals hall was constructed, and two new baggage carousels were installed: the first one opened to the public on 18 March, with the second following in April. Previously passengers had to take their bags from the airline baggage equipment.[7] A new multi-tenant car rental counter has been constructed next to the baggage arrivals area. There was a 1000m² expansion of the main landside passenger lounge, with views of the apron and runway.

The redeveloped terminal was officially opened on 12 March 2010 by the Premier of Tasmania, David Bartlett.[7][8]

As of August 2022 further works had commenced at Launceston Airport to expand the check-in area and install the latest state-of- the-art security technology, with passenger numbers expected to double over the next 15 years. Supported by the State and Federal governments, the $11 million project will double the size of the airport’s check-in hall, with an additional 650 square metres offering space for self-check-in equipment, an easier security experience and an enhanced retail offering. The installation of new security technology will allow passengers to keep laptops, tablets and aerosols in their bags.

The entrance to the Qantas Regional lounge will also be moved behind security screening, meaning travellers with access to the lounge can spend more time there before boarding their flight.[7][9]

In August 2023, the new check-in hall opened, commencing the first stage of the airport's infrastructure development to improve the passenger experience.

The 13th of December 2023 marked the completion of the first phase in the terminal expansion, with new state-of-the-art security screening technology becoming available for airport visitors.[10]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

The Qantas Group is the dominant operator at Launceston airport, with Jetstar operating up to six daily flights to/from Melbourne, up to two daily flights to/from Sydney and up to one daily flight to/from Brisbane throughout the year. QantasLink operates up to four flights daily to/from Melbourne, up to two daily flights to/from Sydney and seasonal services to/from Brisbane. Virgin Australia operates up to four daily flights to/from Melbourne, one daily flight to/from Sydney, between four and seven flights per week to/from Brisbane as well as a number of seasonal flights to/from Adelaide and Perth.[11]

Sharp Airlines offer up to three flights a day to Flinders Island and up to two flights a day to King Island via Burnie.[12]

Airlines of Tasmania provide twice weekly services to both Cape Barren Island and Hobart, in addition to light aircraft charter.

Bonza commenced flights to and from the Gold Coast in November 2023, with flights departing regularly all year round. The airline also have recently announced a direct service to the Sunshine Coast, with flight commencing in late March.


Airlines of Tasmania Cape Barren Island, Flinders Island, Hobart–Cambridge
Bonza Gold Coast,[13] Sunshine Coast[14]
Jetstar Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney
QantasLink Melbourne, Sydney[15]
Seasonal: Brisbane[16]
Sharp Airlines Burnie, Flinders Island, Hobart, King Island
Virgin Australia Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney
Seasonal: Adelaide,[17] Perth[18]


Qantas Freight Hobart, Melbourne
Toll Aviation Melbourne
Sharp Airlines Hobart

Traffic and statistics[edit]

Launceston Airport's passenger numbers have increased dramatically in recent years, significantly exceeding the airports forecasts in the Airport Master Plan 2005. The passenger numbers achieved in the 2007-08 fiscal year were not anticipated until at least fiscal year 2019–20.[19]


Annual passenger traffic at LST airport. See Wikidata query.
Statistics for Launceston Airport[20][21][22][23]
Year Total passengers Aircraft movements
1995-96 595,881
1996-97 586,661
1997-98 544,185
1998-99 520,000
1999-00 540,000 27,600
2000-01 520,000 26,400
2001-02 530,000 21,600
2002-03 580,000 14,900
2003-04 670,000 15,300
2004-05 820,000 15,000
2005-06 920,000 15,000
2006-07 990,000 14,500
2007-08 1,106,000
2008-09 1,127,000
2009-10 1,131,000
2010-11 1,156,000
2011-12 1,130,000
2012-13 1,184,000
2013-14 1,278,000
2014-15 1,293,000
2015-16 1,320,952
2016-17 1,335,133
2017-18 1,362,700
2018-19 1,390,909
2019-20 1,010,713
2020-21 541,914
2021-22 745,621
2022-23 1,295,173


Busiest Domestic Passenger Routes out of Launceston Airport (Year ending June 2019)
Rank Airport Passengers handled
1 Melbourne 962,363
2 Sydney 288,999


Primary access to Launceston Airport is via private vehicles. Launceston Airport has a short term and a long term car park, as well as an overflow car park which can accommodate 1,665 parked vehicles. Public transport is not provided between Launceston Airport and the City of Launceston. Numerous taxi services are available as well as Airport Shuttle Buses that operate mainly from the City Centre to the airport but also connecting the Northwest Tasmanian towns of Devonport, Ulverstone and Burnie.[24][25][26]

Tassielink Transit bus route "Evandale-Perth-Longford- Cressy" has three daily buses calling on Evandale Road outside Launceston Airport (no services on Sundays and Public Holidays).

The designated pick-up point for Uber and other rideshare services is located adjacent to the undercover car park, which can be accessed by following directional signage from the terminal and following the covered walkway to the north of the terminal towards the Sharp Airlines terminal/undercover car park.[27]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

On 29 May 2003, Qantas Flight 1737 – en route from Melbourne Airport – was involved in an attempted hijacking shortly after takeoff. The would-be hijacker, a passenger named David Robinson, intended to fly the aircraft into the Walls of Jerusalem National Park located in central Tasmania. The flight attendants and passengers successfully subdued and restrained Robinson, and the aircraft returned to Melbourne, where it landed safely.[28][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Launceston Historical Society Inc".
  2. ^ "RAAF Base Western Junction". RAAF Museum.
  3. ^ "A Brief History of Aviation in Tasmania and the Launceston Airport". Archived from the original on 1 September 2007.
  4. ^ "Jetstar congratulates Launceston Airport on one million passenger milestone" (PDF). Jetsar. 9 October 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  5. ^ "About The Expansion". Launceston Airport. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  6. ^ a b "The Facts". Launceston Airport. Archived from the original on 12 February 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  7. ^ a b c "Launceston Gets Its First of Two Baggage Carousels". Launceston Airport. 18 March 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  8. ^ "$20 million redevelopment of Launceston Airport takes off". Launceston Airport. 30 May 2008. Retrieved 12 April 2008.
  9. ^ "Building for the future: Work underway to expand Tasmania's northern gateway". Launceston Airport. 12 August 2022.
  10. ^ "Launceston Airport". Launceston Airport. Retrieved 21 December 2023.
  11. ^ "Arrivals and Departures". Launceston Airport. Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  12. ^ "Flight Schedules | Sharp Airlines".
  13. ^ "'Good news for Aussie travellers': Bonza reveals newest destination". 24 August 2023.
  14. ^ "Bonza spreads its wings with new Sunshine-Launceston route". 2 February 2024.
  15. ^ "QantasLink launches Sydney-Launceston flights, brings back Sydney-Hobart". The Regional Flyer. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  16. ^ "Qantas and Jetstar to boost flights between Brisbane and Launceston". Qantas News Room. Qantas. Retrieved 10 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Virgin Australia launches new routes and drops epic sale". Virgin Australia Newsroom. 9 August 2021. Retrieved 10 August 2021.
  18. ^ "Virgin Australia launches direct Perth-Launceston services with $149 sale". Virgin Australia Newsroom. 9 September 2021. Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  19. ^ "2005 Master Plan" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 September 2009. (10.9 MB)
  20. ^ "Launceston Airport, Tasmania, Australia – Passenger/Aircraft Statistics". Archived from the original on 19 July 2008.
  21. ^ "Media Release" (PDF).
  22. ^ "Australia Pacific Airports Annual Report 1999" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2008.
  23. ^ "Australia Pacific Airports Annual Report 1998" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  24. ^ "Car Parking at Launceston Airport". Launceston Airport. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  25. ^ "Car Park Map" (PDF). Launceston Airport. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  26. ^ "Car Parking Conditions". Launceston Airport. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
  27. ^ "Taxi, Rideshare and Shuttles". Launceston Airport. Retrieved 21 December 2023.
  28. ^ "Two stabbed in attempted hijack over Melbourne". The Sydney Morning Herald. 29 May 2003. Retrieved 1 October 2008.
  29. ^ "Qantas hijacker found not guilty". The Age. 14 July 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2008.

External links[edit]