Newcastle Airport (New South Wales)

Coordinates: 32°47′42″S 151°50′04″E / 32.79500°S 151.83444°E / -32.79500; 151.83444
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Newcastle Airport

Williamtown Airport
Airport typeCivil aviation
OwnerNewcastle City Council
Port Stephens Council
OperatorNewcastle Airport Pty Ltd
LocationWilliamtown, New South Wales, Australia
Hub forFlyPelican
Time zoneAEST (UTC+10:00)
 • Summer (DST)AEDT (UTC+11:00)
Elevation AMSL31 ft / 9 m
Coordinates32°47′42″S 151°50′04″E / 32.79500°S 151.83444°E / -32.79500; 151.83444
WebsiteNewcastle Airport
YWLM is located in the Hunter-Central Coast Region
YWLM is located in New South Wales
YWLM is located in Australia
YWLM is located in Oceania
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12/30 3,058 10,033 Asphalt
Statistics (2016–17 (1 July – 30 June)[1][2])
Aircraft movements14,125
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[3]

Newcastle Airport (IATA: NTL, ICAO: YWLM) is an international airport in Williamtown, New South Wales. It is located 15 kilometres; 9.2 miles (8 NM) north[3][4] of Newcastle (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.[1] 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 Pty Ltd. 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.[5]

The airport runway is owned by RAAF Base Williamtown. Even though this is a military airfield, civilian operations are permitted under an Operating Deed. Jetstar, Virgin Australia and QantasLink operate flights to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Ballina. FlyPelican also operates flights to Ballina and Canberra. The airport is leased from the Federal Government for civilian air travel until 2075.[6]

The largest commercial aircraft currently operating at Newcastle Airport are the Boeing 737-800s of Virgin Australia. The civil apron can handle aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767. The airport runway can handle aircraft up to Boeing 747 size.[citation needed]


View from the air, 2014

Commercial operations began at Williamtown in 1947 when the Federal 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 Pty Ltd, was formed by the two councils in 1993.[7]

Scheduled services to the airport commenced in February 1948, with Trans Australia Airlines using Douglas 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.[8]

Impulse 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 British Aerospace 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 717s 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's Boeing 717s.

In 1997, BAE Systems was awarded the contract for assembly and ongoing system support for the Hawk 127 Lead in Fighters for the RAAF. 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 were assembled at Williamtown, with the final deliveries taking place in October 2001.[9] The BAE facility forms part of the Williamtown Aerospace Centre precinct.[10]

In November 2006, a $8.25 million upgrade to the terminal facilities completed. 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.[11]

On 24 February 2015, Newcastle Airport's a 2,600 m2 (27,986 sq ft) extension was opened. The new expansion opened 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.[12][13] Redevelopment works for the adjacent RAAF base Williamtown, including a 650 m (2,133 ft) extension of the shared runway, began in January 2015.[14][15][16]

In February 2022, Bonza announced that the airport would become one of its 17 destinations with the airline planning to fly to the Sunshine Coast and Proserpine from Newcastle.[17]


Passenger terminal

Newcastle Airport is surrounded by Class C Airspace and does not have a control tower. Newcastle Airport domestic traffic is controlled by the Williamtown RAAF base. Outside of RAAF operating times and Newcastle Airport operating curfew, pilots must co-ordinate movements using a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). The air traffic control service is provided by RAAF personnel.[18]

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.[3] Aircraft rescue and firefighting services are provided to the airport by the Department of Defence[19]

The terminal building is serviced by a taxi rank. Rental car companies also operate from the precinct. 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. Although the information desk is still located in the arrivals terminal, it is no longer serviced by Newcastle Airport staff. Public internet access is provided. Newcastle Airport is served by bus services operated by Hunter Valley Buses and Port Stephens Coaches.[20]

Previous renovations were completed in 2015 which consisted of refurbishing the existing terminal. A newsagent and specialty gift store was built, as well as six food and beverage outlets. Security screening was relocated to separate the check-in hall from the departures lounge.[21]


In May 2021, the Australian Government announced a $55 million upgrade to the international terminal at Newcastle Airport,[22] [23] The expansion will make the terminal able of facilitating large aircraft capable of flying to Asia, the United States and the Middle East.[24]

On 14 April 2022, then-Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced that the federal Morrison government would fund $55 million for the international and domestic terminal upgrades for the airport. Even with the election of the Albanese government in May 2022, the upgrades are still supported by the federal government.[25] The international terminal will be completed by early 2024.[26]

In July 2022, Newcastle Airport announced its interest to begin direct flights to Singapore.[27]

In April 2023, the Commonwealth Bank announced its support for the upgrades.[28]

When completed, the upgrade will have new retail and duty-free stores and possibly airport lounges. Newcastle Airport intends to have direct flights to Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Singapore, as well as direct domestic flights to destinations such as Hobart, Launceston and Perth. It intends to restart flights to Auckland as well.[29]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Jetstar Airbus A320-200
Jetstar Airbus A320-200 in Powderfinger livery at Newcastle Airport
Bonza[30] Proserpine, Sunshine Coast
Eastern Air Services Lord Howe Island[31]
FlyPelican Ballina,[32] Canberra, Narrabri,[33] Sydney
Jetstar Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne
Seasonal: Cairns[34]
Link Airways Canberra[35]
QantasLink Adelaide,[36] Brisbane, Melbourne[37]
Virgin Australia Brisbane, Melbourne


Annual passenger traffic at NTL airport. See Wikidata query.
Annual passenger statistics for Newcastle (Williamtown)[2]
Year[1] Passenger
2000–01 240,428
2001–02 211,214
2002–03 198,221
2003–04 302,404
2004–05 639,917
2005–06 816,651
2006–07 958,087
2007–08 1,065,972
2008–09 1,172,938
2009–10 1,127,392
2010–11 1,211,302
2011–12 1,191,944
2012–13 1,206,517
2013–14 1,168,543
2014–15 1,139,699
2015–16 1,151,262
2016–17 1,257,210
Busiest domestic routes into and out of Newcastle Airport (2015)
Rank Airport Passengers % change Carriers
1 Queensland, Brisbane 543,738 Decrease 7.3 Virgin Australia, Jetstar, QantasLink
2 Victoria, Melbourne 443,026 Increase 1.3 Virgin Australia, Jetstar

Accidents and incidents[edit]

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 Australian Transport Safety Bureau) 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.[38] The circumstances surrounding the accident led to a commission of inquiry[a] into the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's handling of Seaview Air's operations.[40]


  1. ^ Officially titled, Commission of Inquiry into the Relations Between the CAA and Seaview Air[39]


  1. ^ a b c "Monthly check in: June 2017" (Press release). Newcastle Airport. July 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b "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. Archived from the original on 26 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c YWLM – Williamtown (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 21 March 2024, Aeronautical Chart Archived 10 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine page 1
  4. ^ Topographic map 9232 Newcastle
  5. ^ McGowan, Michael (9 February 2015). "Newcastle Airport's $1.1 billion contribution". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  6. ^ Company structure Newcastle Airport
  7. ^ "Newcastle Airport Master Plan" (PDF). Newcastle Airport. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2012.
  8. ^ "Newcastle Airport 60 Years". Newcastle Airport. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012.
  9. ^ Air 5367 – Lead-In Fighter Project
  10. ^ "Williamtown Aerospace Centre" (brochure and map). Williamtown Aerospace Centre. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Newcastle Airport Review of Operations" (PDF). Newcastle Airport. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  12. ^ "NTL terminal expansion weekly update". Newcastle Airport. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  13. ^ Carr, Matt (24 February 2015). "Newcastle Airport unveils redevelopment". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  14. ^ "Massive RAAF base upgrade". NewsComAu. 29 August 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  15. ^ ELIAS, CHARLES (1 April 2015). "Upgrade of air base takes off". Port Stephens Examiner. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  16. ^ Elias, Charles (31 December 2014). "Williamtown RAAF Base work to start in January". Port Stephens Examiner. Retrieved 24 May 2019.
  17. ^ "Bonza Announces New Destinations". Bay939Radio. Bay939. 15 February 2022. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  18. ^ "Williamtown Aeronautical Study" (PDF). Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Australian Government. February 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 March 2012.
  19. ^ "Decision – Airservices Australia Price notification – Aviation rescue and firefighting services" (PDF). Australian Competition & Consumer Commission. 29 June 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2012.
  20. ^ Public transport Newcastle Airport
  21. ^ "Terminal expansion twelve month recap – Building Our Future". Newcastle Airport. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  22. ^ "Spreading its wings: Newcastle Airport secures $55m upgrade in bid to become 'international hub'". ABC News. 14 April 2022.
  23. ^ "Labor confirms $55 million for Newcastle Airport's international expansion". 25 October 2022.
  24. ^ "Region is one step closer to global connectivity". 31 May 2022.
  25. ^ "Newcastle Airport set to take more international flights after election funding boost - ABC News".
  26. ^ "Newcastle Airport | Terminal Upgrade Project".
  27. ^ "Newcastle Airport | Singapore delegation strengthens region's international aspirations". 25 July 2022.
  28. ^ "CBA to finance new NSW international airport terminal … and it's not in Sydney". 11 April 2023.
  29. ^ "Newcastle Airport".
  30. ^ "Bonza Outlines Operational Network in 1H23". Aeroroutes. 27 January 2023. Retrieved 27 January 2023.
  31. ^ "Direct flights from Williamtown to Lord Howe Island". Port Stephens Examiner. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  32. ^ "FlyPelican to commence Air Services between Newcastle and Ballina (Byron Bay)" (PDF) (Press release). FlyPelican. 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  33. ^ "FlyPelican announces new direct route". NBN News. 9 August 2023.
  34. ^ "Jetstar Airways to launch Newcastle-Cairns service | Corporate Travel Community".
  35. ^ Crowe, Alex (20 October 2020). "Direct flight service launched between Canberra and Newcastle". Canberra Times. Retrieved 21 October 2020.
  36. ^ "From the Barossa to the Hunter: Flights between Adelaide and Newcastle to take off". Qantas. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  37. ^ Doak, Emily; Wallace, Simon (15 January 2021). "Qantas delays new regional routes due to COVID uncertainty". ABC Riverina. ABC News. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  38. ^ "Investigation Report 9402804" (PDF). Bureau of Air Safety Investigation. December 1996. Retrieved 17 May 2012.
  39. ^ Commonwealth Parliamentary Library. "Royal Commissions and Commissions of Inquiry". Canberra: Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  40. ^ "Aviation safety regulation timeline 1982–2011". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 17 May 2012.

External links[edit]

Media related to Newcastle Airport (Williamtown) at Wikimedia Commons