Newcastle Airport (New South Wales)
Newcastle Airport in 2011
|Airport type||Civil aviation|
|Owner||Newcastle City Council|
Port Stephens Council
|Operator||Newcastle Airport Ltd|
|Serves||Lower Hunter Region|
|Location||Williamtown, New South Wales, Australia|
|Focus city for||Newcastle|
|Time zone||AEST (UTC+10:00)|
|• Summer (DST)||AEDT (UTC+11:00)|
|Elevation AMSL||31 ft / 9 m|
|Statistics (2016–17 (1 July – 30 June))|
Newcastle Airport (IATA: NTL, ICAO: YWLM) is 15 kilometres; 9.2 miles (8 NM) north of Newcastle, New South Wales (27 km (17 mi) by road) in Port Stephens. It is the 13th busiest airport in Australia, handling over 1.25 million passengers in the year ended 30 June 2017, an increase of 6.6% on the previous year. The airport occupies a 28 ha (69-acre) site on the southern border of RAAF Base Williamtown.
The airport is jointly owned by Newcastle City Council and Port Stephens Council, and managed by Newcastle Airport Limited. The airport and associated developments support over 3,300 jobs and contributed $1.19 billion to the economy of the lower Hunter Region in 2015.
The airport runway is shared with the RAAF Base Williamtown. Even though this base is a military airfield, civilian operations are permitted. Jetstar, Virgin Australia, QantasLink and Regional Express operate flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast Airport and Ballina. FlyPelican also operates flights to Ballina and Canberra. Brindabella Airlines operated at the airport until its collapse in late 2013.
In July 2018 a route between Newcastle and Auckland was announced. It was the only international route operating through Newcastle since 2001. The route, operated by Virgin Australia will be for a limited time, during peak holiday periods. The service will operate three times per week between 22 November 2018 and 17 February 2019. It is expected that if the route is successful, it will continue on a more permanent basis. The airport is leased from the Federal Government for civilian air travel until 2045.
The largest aircraft currently operating to Newcastle Airport are the Boeing 737-800s of Virgin Australia. The civil apron can handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767. Future upgrades to the apron will allow larger Airbus A330 and Boeing 787-sized aircraft to operate from the airport terminal. The airport runway can handle aircraft up to Boeing 747 size.
Commercial operations began at Williamtown in 1947 when the Australian Government opened the existing Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) airport to civil aviation. The airport remained under government control until 1990 when responsibility for its operation was handed over to Newcastle City Council and Port Stephens Council. The current operator, Newcastle Airport Limited, was formed by the two councils in 1993.
Scheduled services to the airport commenced in February 1948, with Trans Australia Airlines using DC-3 aircraft to service a Sydney–Newcastle–Brisbane route. A new passenger terminal was constructed in 1975. During the 1970s, Masling Airlines operated Cessna 402 aircraft on commuter flights between Newcastle and Sydney, and in 1980 with the acquisition of larger Embraer EMB-110 Bandeirante aircraft added a Newcastle – Canberra route. Passenger numbers increased during the 1980s with new airlines and routes serving the airport, including jet services utilising Fokker F28s of Air New South Wales and Ansett Boeing 737s.
Impulse Airlines, a regional airline and later one of Australia's first low-cost airlines, established a base at the airport in the early 1990s, creating a maintenance facility. In 1994, Impulse added the first direct Newcastle – Melbourne flights to their network utilising Jetstream 41 aircraft. In 1996, owing largely Impulse's establishment of Newcastle as a regional hub, the terminal facilities were upgraded to handle growing passenger volumes. In 2000 Impulse acquired Boeing 717 and rebranded itself as a low-cost carrier. Newcastle Airport remained an integral part of the Impulse route network until the company was bought out by Qantas the following year. Following Qantas' acquisition of Impulse in 2001, the airport became the maintenance base for Jetstar's Airbus A320 fleet. The base also provides third party aircraft maintenance for the Qantaslink Boeing 717.
Newcastle airport briefly offered International flights to Auckland, New Zealand. These services, operated by Freedom Air, commenced in 2001 using Boeing 737s. These services were discontinued the following year and have since been announced to continue for a trial period between 22 November 2018 and 17 February 2019, to be operated by Virgin Australia.[needs update]
In 1997, BAE Systems was awarded the contract for assembly and ongoing system support for the Hawk 127 Lead in Fighters for the Royal Australian Air Force. As part of the contract, a large facility was built adjacent to the passenger terminal at a cost of $15 million. Twenty-one of the thirty three aircraft currently in service were assembled at Williamtown, with the final deliveries taking place in October 2001. The BAE facility forms part of the Williamtown Aerospace Centre precinct.
Flight JQ371, the inaugural flight of Jetstar Airways departed Newcastle for Melbourne on 24 May 2004.
$8.25 million was spent on upgrades to the terminal facilities completed in November 2005 to cope with future demand and security requirements. This development doubled the available floor space in the terminal building, enhanced security screening and added a third departure gate, two baggage carousels and a retail concourse with five stores. In the same year, Jetstar Engineering invested $29 million towards improvements to the former Impulse maintenance facilities to allow heavy maintenance on A320 family aircraft to be conducted at the airport, Aeropelican Air Services moved operations to Williamtown from Belmont Airport and Newcastle Airport was named Regional Airport of the Year by the Australian airports industry. Additional car parking and enhanced set down and pick up landside access was added in 2006 at a further cost of $2.7 million.
On 24 February 2015, Newcastle Airport's 2,600 m2 (27,986 sq ft) extension was opened by the Minister for Planning and Environment and Minister for Women, Pru Goward. The new expansion opens the airport to possible international services with a dedicated area for permanent customs, immigration and quarantine facilities. This expansion was the first stage of an $80 million redevelopment, with the existing terminal undergoing a full refurbishment. Redevelopment works for the adjacent RAAF base Williamtown, including a 650 m (2,133 ft) extension of the shared runway, began in January 2015.
Newcastle Airport is surrounded by Class C Airspace and has a control tower which is manned 7 days a week, between the hours of 0800 – 2200. At other times, pilots must co-ordinate movements using a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). The air traffic control service is provided by RAAF personnel.
Runway 12/30 has an available landing distance of 3,058 m (10,033 ft) with an asphalt surface. Runway 12 is equipped with a Category 1 Instrument landing system incorporating a high intensity approach lighting array to assist aircraft approaching the airport in poor weather conditions. Both ends of the runway are equipped with arrestor wires, although during civil operations, these are not deployed. Aircraft rescue and firefighting services are provided to the airport by the Department of Defence
The terminal building is serviced by a taxi rank and shuttle bus services. Major rental car companies also operate from the arrival terminal. As part of the 2005 upgrades, an information desk was incorporated to provide arriving passengers with facilities to book accommodation, connections and receive information on local attractions. Public internet access is provided.
In July 2012, developer GWH Group announced that it had lodged a development application with Port Stephens Council to construct an A$12 million hotel complex on airport land adjacent to the current long term car park. The proposal is in response to the rapid growth in passengers using the airport and a lack of accommodation options in the immediate vicinity.
The second stage of the 2015 redevelopment consisted of refurbishing the existing terminal. A new newsagent and specialty gift store was built, as well as six food and beverage outlets. The existing security screening was relocated in an effort to separate the check-in hall, with the departures lounge.
Airlines and destinations
|FlyPelican||Ballina, Canberra, Dubbo|
|Jetstar Airways||Brisbane, Melbourne, Gold Coast|
|Virgin Australia|| Brisbane, Melbourne|
|1||Queensland, Brisbane||543,738||7.3||Virgin Australia, Jetstar, QantasLink|
|2||Victoria, Melbourne||443,026||1.3||Virgin Australia, Jetstar|
Accidents and incidents
On 2 October 1994, a Rockwell Commander 690B operating for Seaview Air with flight number CD111 departed Newcastle (Williamtown) Airport for Lord Howe Island. The aircraft carried a pilot and 8 passengers. Radio contact with the aircraft was lost during the flight, and a search and rescue operation was declared. Two days later, debris was found floating on the sea near the aircraft's last known position. The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (predecessor of ATSB) report into the incident uncovered alarming information about how the flight was conducted. The aircraft was 220 kg over maximum takeoff weight, the pilot did not possess a current medical certificate required to operate the aircraft and the company did not have the pre-requisite licences to operate regular public transport flights between Newcastle and Lord Howe Island. The accident is considered not to have been survivable by anyone on board the aircraft. The circumstances surrounding the accident led to a commission of inquiry into the Civil Aviation Authority's handling of Seaview Air's operations.
- "Monthly check in: June 2017" (Press release). Newcastle Airport Limited. July 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- "Monthly Airport Traffic Data for top twenty airports: January 2009 to current". Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Australian Government. May 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 28 February 2019, Aeronautical Chart Archived 10 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine page 1 (
- Topographic map 9232 Newcastle
- McGowan, Michael (9 February 2015). "Newcastle Airport's $1.1 billion contribution". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- "Newcastle to New Zealand flights to begin from November". ABC News. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
- "Lease extended for Newcastle Airport". Department of Defence. 24 June 2005. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Newcastle Airport 60 Years". Newcastle Airport Limited.
- "Newcastle Airport Master Plan" (PDF). Newcastle Airport Limited.
- Air 5367 – Lead-In Fighter Project
- "Williamtown Aerospace Centre" (brochure and map). Williamtown Aerospace Centre. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- "Newcastle Airport Review of Operations" (PDF). Newcastle Airport Limited. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- "NTL terminal expansion weekly update". Newcastle Airport Limited. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- Carr, Matt (24 February 2015). "Newcastle Airport unveils redevelopment". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Massive RAAF base upgrade". NewsComAu. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- ELIAS, CHARLES (1 April 2015). "Upgrade of air base takes off". Port Stephens Examiner. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- ELIAS, CHARLES (31 December 2014). "Williamtown RAAF Base work to start in January". Port Stephens Examiner. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
- "Williamtown Aeronautical Study" (PDF). Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Australian Government. February 2008.
- "Decision – Airservices Australia Price notification – Aviation rescue and firefighting services" (PDF). Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. 29 June 2005. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
- Carr, Matt (11 July 2012). "$12 hotel could lift airport sector". The Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- "Terminal expansion twelve month recap – Building Our Future". Newcastle Airport Limited. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
- "FlyPelican to commence Air Services between Newcastle and Ballina (Byron Bay)" (PDF) (Press release). FlyPelican. 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
- "FlyPelican launches Newcastle-Dubbo service". Australian Aviation. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- "Virgin Australia and Newcastle Airport announce direct international flights to Auckland" (Press release). Virgin Australia. 18 July 2018. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
- "Investigation Report 9402804" (PDF). Bureau of Air Safety Investigation. December 1996. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
- "Aviation safety regulation timeline 1982–2011". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
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