Wagga Wagga Airport

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Wagga Wagga Airport

RAAF Base Wagga
Wagga Wagga Regional Airport logo.svg
Wagga Wagga Airport (June 2009).jpg
Wagga Wagga Airport terminal
Airport typeMilitary/Public
OwnerDepartment of Defence
OperatorWagga Wagga City Council
ServesWagga Wagga
LocationForest Hill, New South Wales
Elevation AMSL724 ft / 221 m
Coordinates35°09′55″S 147°27′59″E / 35.16528°S 147.46639°E / -35.16528; 147.46639Coordinates: 35°09′55″S 147°27′59″E / 35.16528°S 147.46639°E / -35.16528; 147.46639
WebsiteWagga Wagga Airport
YSWG is located in New South Wales
Location in New South Wales
Direction Length Surface
m ft
05/23 1,768 5,801 Asphalt
12/30 894 2,933 Clay
Statistics (2018-19[1])
Aircraft movements6,692
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart.[2] Passengers and aircraft movements from BITRE.[3]

Wagga Wagga Airport (IATA: WGA, ICAO: YSWG), is located adjacent to RAAF Base Wagga, and 5.8 nautical miles (10.7 km; 6.7 mi) southeast[2] of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, Australia. The airfield is an operational base, but is leased by the Wagga Wagga City Council on a 30-year lease from the Australian Department of Defence,[4] with RAAF Base Wagga being a ground training base. The airfield is still used by military aircraft, mostly transport aircraft transporting freight or passengers.

Regional Express maintains its fleet of Saab 340 passenger and freight aircraft at Wagga Wagga Airport.


QantasLink Bombardier Dash 8 (DHC-8 402) aircraft at Wagga Wagga Airport

During 1939, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) were looking to establish an inland training base. Pursuing this, Group Captain A. H. "Harry" Cobby (top scoring World War I ace) contacted Wagga resident Hughie Condon and asked him to suggest possible sites suitable for the establishment of an RAAF station. Condon was well suited to the task, being regional Examiner of Airmen with the Department of Defence. He recommended a site at the village of Forest Hill, this being situated about five nautical miles east of Wagga. The site was situated above the Murrumbidgee flood plain and was of suitable dimension. It was already serviced by rail, offered frontage to the Sturt Highway, and was sufficiently distant from the town of Wagga Wagga. Cobby flew to inspect the site, arriving in an RAAF Avro Anson. He agreed with Condon's assessment and the go-ahead was soon given. The identified land was resumed from the Brunskill and Lyons families in the first half of 1939 and before long, a Fearnes bus was shuttling workers to the site.

It is of note that this was planned as a permanent base and preceded the Empire Air Training Scheme. At this time the Wagga Wagga Council (not yet a city) operated a civilian aerodrome. This was located on Hammond Avenue, East Wagga Wagga. Many other councils had hoped to host the new base. The Mayor of Junee, H.G. Weaver, claimed that Junee was a better choice, claiming it was less susceptible to fog, had flatter surrounding terrain and could offer railway workshops (the roundhouse) for aircraft repair. The mayor of Narromine was unhappy that his suggested site was not even inspected.

The building layout was carefully designed so as to enable the aircraft landing area to have potential for 'all over' operations. Aircraft could potentially touch down anywhere, in any direction, according to the pilots' operational needs.

RAAF Forest Hill became operational on 29 July 1940 and initially was home to 2SFTS. Service Flying Training Schools conducted advanced training of graduates of the Elementary Flying Training Schools.

At the close of World War II, civilian flying recommenced. A decision was made to accommodate civilian flying operations at Forest Hill. A Bellman hangar was allocated for civilian use and Mobil/Vacuum installed an aircraft refuelling facility. At this time the council aerodrome on Hammond Avenue fell into disuse.

With new transport aircraft, such as the Convair Metropolitan, coming into widespread use, it was decided to construct a bitumen runway. This was timed so as to be completed for Queen Elizabeth IIs visit to Wagga in 1954.[5][6][7][8][9]

On 28 January 1992 the Wagga Wagga City Council secured a 30-year lease from the Commonwealth of Australia which included a $2 million to upgrade the airport's runway to allow it to handle Boeing 737s.[10]

In June 2009, Wagga Wagga Airport was listed third for the world's strangest sounding airports.[11]

In December 2009, a $2.2 million upgrade to increase its capacity for future growth and to improve the security at the airport was completed.[12]

On 27 May 2010, Anthony Albanese announced that the federal government would provide funding worth A$1.05 million, as part of the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, to the Wagga Wagga City Council for the installation of the A$1.63 million Instrument Landing System (ILS), which were only found in all of Australia's capital cities.[13][14] The ILS was commissioned by Airservices Australia on 16 December 2010.[15]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

QantasLink Sydney
Regional Express Melbourne, Sydney

Passenger statistics[edit]

Passenger terminal

In the 2018-19 financial year[1] the airport recorded 206,912 passengers which made it the 33rd busiest airport in Australia.[3]

Annual passenger statistics for Wagga Wagga Airport[3]
Year[1] Passenger numbers
2006-07 203,798
2007-08 225,394
2008-09 209,279
2009-10 208,866
2010-11 213,923
2011-12 207,633
2012-13 206,381
2013-14 210,934
2014-15 209,671
2015-16 214,247
2016-17 217,021
2017-18 224,499
2018-19 206,912

Regional Express facilities[edit]

Heavy maintenance[edit]

Regional Express heavy maintenance facility

Regional Express Engineering heavy maintenance facility is based at Wagga Wagga Airport which provides maintenance for Saab 340 and Fairchild Metro SA-277 aircraft.[16][17]

Pilot academy[edit]

Australian Airline Pilot Academy hangar at Wagga Wagga Airport.

In February 2009, Regional Express Airlines announced that the Australian Airline Pilot Academy (AAPA) was relocated from Mangalore Airport in Victoria to Wagga Wagga Airport on 1 April 2009, in partnership with the City of Wagga Wagga.[18][19]

On 27 May 2010, AAPA campus at Wagga Wagga Airport was officially opened by Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese.[20]


Wagga Wagga City Council publicly released the Wagga Wagga Airport draft master plan in April 2010, which is to establish direction for future development at the airport over a 20-year period.[21] Part of the master plan includes blueprints for a new airport terminal, capability to accommodate jets and business ventures.[22]

In April 2011, a joint tender for security upgrades for baggage and passenger screening was called for Wagga Wagga, Tamworth and Dubbo Airports, which is to be completed by July 2012.[23] Wagga Wagga City Council will receive A$650,000 from the federal government to purchase the baggage and passenger screening equipment, with the council funding A$162,000 to install the equipment.[24]

In the 2011-12 financial year, Wagga Wagga City Council will develop a commercial aviation precinct at a cost of A$6.8 million, to attract aviation industries to the airport. Council will also allocate A$1.5 million for construction of 29 hangars for general aviation. The airport improvements funding will be partly paid by the introduction of parking fees at the airport's carpark.[24]

In September 2011, it was announced that Douglas Aerospace would be centralising its operations at the airport by April 2012, which will see the council's construction of two hangars speeded up.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Fiscal year 1 July - 30 June
  2. ^ a b YSWG – Wagga Wagga (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 15 August 2019, Aeronautical Chart
  3. ^ a b c "Airport Traffic Data 1985-86 to 2018-19". Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE). September 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019. Refers to "Regular Public Transport (RPT) operations only"
  4. ^ "Airport" (PDF). Wagga Wagga City Council. Retrieved 20 June 2008.[dead link]
  5. ^ Transcript of interview with grandson of H.Condon by F.Burke.
  6. ^ http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/australi/cobby.php
  7. ^ Sydney Morning Herald Sat. 11 March 1939
  8. ^ http://www.waggabiketyres.com
  9. ^ http://www.wwdhs.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/raaf-base-history-20120723.pdf
  10. ^ "Effective Regional Aviation Services-An Airport perspective". Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government. Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  11. ^ Schneider, Kate (24 June 2009). "World's strangest airport names". News Limited. News.com.au. Retrieved 26 June 2009.
  12. ^ "Wagga airport to get fewer security cameras". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC Riverina. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
  13. ^ Wood, Patrick (28 May 2010). "$1.05m funding for new landing system". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  14. ^ "Wagga Wagga Airport to get ILS". Aviation Business. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  15. ^ "Wagga ILS operational". Australian Aviation. 16 December 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Certificate of Approval" (PDF). Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Australian Government. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  17. ^ "Regional Express Engineering - Excellence in SAAB". Business Wagga Wagga. Wagga Wagga City Council. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  18. ^ "REX to relocate pilot academy". News Limited. Weekly Times Now. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  19. ^ "REX to construct pilot academy at Wagga Wagga". Regional Express. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
  20. ^ "Reaching for the sky". The Daily Advertiser. 28 May 2010. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  21. ^ Muir, Stephanie (12 April 2010). "Council drafts airport plans". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  22. ^ Muir, Stephanie (23 April 2010). "Airport plans to spread its wings". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  23. ^ "New look for Tamworth Airport". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 28 April 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2011.
  24. ^ a b Grimson, Ken (29 April 2011). "Paid parking at airport, a plan to bring jobs to city". The Daily Advertiser. p. 8.
  25. ^ Nash, Kree (26 September 2011). "Douglas Aerospace set to take off in Wagga". The Daily Advertiser. Retrieved 26 September 2011.

External links[edit]