The Full Wiki

Cairns Airport: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cairns Airport
Cairns Airport.JPG
Airport type Public
Operator North Queensland Airports Group
Serves Cairns, Queensland
Location Aeroglen
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 10 ft / 3 m
Coordinates 16°52′29″S 145°45′08″E / 16.87472°S 145.75222°E / -16.87472; 145.75222
Direction Length Surface
m ft
15/33 3,196 10,486 Asphalt
12/30 925 3,035 Asphalt
Source: AIP Enroute Supplement[1]

Cairns Airport (IATA: CNSICAO: YBCS) is an Australian domestic and international airport in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Formerly operated by the Cairns Port Authority, the airport was sold by the Queensland Government in December 2008 to a private consortium. It is the seventh busiest airport in Australia. The airport is located 7 kilometres (4 miles) north of the Cairns central business district in the suburb of Aeroglen. The airport lies between Mount Whitfield to the west and Trinity Bay to the east.

The airport serves international, domestic and general aviation flights including a number of helicopter operators. Flights are operated to major Australian cities and tourist destinations, regional communities in Far North Queensland, and a number of international destinations in the Asia-Pacific region with connections to the rest of the world. The airport formed the main base for Australian Airlines prior to its ceasing of operations in June 2006 (the airport remains a major port for parent company Qantas). It is also a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia and the search and rescue helicopters of the State Emergency Service. The airport is currently being extended and renovated to a new modern design.



Cairns Airport goes back to 1928 when Tom McDonald started flying his Gypsy Moth off a sand ridge near the present airport. He could only land and take off between high tides. During one emergency, Tom was forced to take off from beer barrels

During World War II the Australian Government bought the airport for use by the Royal Australian Air Force. The Main runway was hard surfaced and made longer for the RAAF aircraft. It was also used by the American Air Force as a transport base, with the 33d Troop Carrier Squadron (374th Troop Carrier Group) operating from the base during 1942.

  • 1943 Runway first sealed.
  • 1949 The main runway was lengthened to 1730 metres to accommodate larger aircraft.
  • 1962-1967 The airport was upgraded and the runway lengthened to 2020 metres and strengthened so jets could land
  • 1970-1974 The number of aircraft flying to Cairns increased. TAA and Ansett provided regular scheduled services to most Australian capital cities and also Papua New Guinea.
  • 1975 Air New Guinea was the first international service to commence flights out of Cairns to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea
  • 1982 Commencement of Stage I Redevelopment. This involved further lengthening of the runway to 2600 metres (making it the longest runway in Queensland) and construction of a new terminal building.
  • 1984 Completion of Stage I. Official opening of dual International and Domestic Terminals on 31 March
  • 1990 Stage II works completed. This included a new separate International Terminal, associated aprons and taxiways costing an estimate of $80 million. Completion of main runway extension from 2600 to 3196 metres
  • 1993, the government sold its interests in Trans Australia Airlines to Qantas Airways. The Trans Australia Airlines section of the domestic terminal was re-branded into Qantas.
  • 1997 Completion of Stage IIIA Redevelopment. Within this redevelopment, a three storey Airport Administration Centre was constructed providing 4000 square metres of office space.[2]

In September 2001, Ansett Australia suffered financial collapse and went into administration. Subsequently it ceased all services after 66 years of operations. Apart from a one-off flight, it never recommenced services to Cairns. In 2002, its terminal interests were sold back to the Cairns Port Authority who leased it to Virgin Blue (from 2002), and to Jetstar (from 2004). As of 2009, the former Golden Wing Lounge still remains, and is being temporarily used by Qantas as an interim Qantas Club, while a replacement lounge is being constructed as part of the greater terminal re-development. Some remanant Ansett features can still be seen in there.

  • In January 2010, Auckland International Airport Limited, announced plans to purchase almost 25 per cent of North Queensland Airports(NQA), operator of the airports at Cairns and Mackay, for about $167 million. Synergies for Auckland Airport with North Queensland Airports include better management of the airports' operations and working more closely with each other to attract airlines that currently don't fly to either. NQA stands to be a good stand-alone investment for future economic growth for the state of Queensland, as international tourism for the area of Northern Queensland increases, thus, illustrating a significant increase in demand for future international flights to the airports.


The airport has two passenger terminals located on the eastern side on reclaimed mangrove swamp. The terminals are in two separate buildings 200 metres (656 feet) from one another. The air traffic control tower is also located in this area. The general aviation area is on the western side of the airport adjacent to the Captain Cook Highway.

Qantas up until the redevelopment, utilised the Southern end of the domestic terminal. A new Qantas Club lounge is currently under construction, and in the interim Qantas are utilising the former Ansett Australia Golden Wing lounge as a temporary Qantas Club. Both Virgin Blue and Jetstar utilise the Northern (former Ansett) end of the Domestic terminal. The whole terminal is undergoing a $200 million redevelopment. Work started in August 2007 and is expected to be finished by late 2010. Current work is focused on redevelopment of the departure lounge. Check-in facilities will all be expanded into a common-user facility for all airlines, and the building enlarged. Five new airbridges will replace the existing three old airbridges at Gate 18, 19 and 20.

The International Terminal currently has six airbridges.

The airport’s main north-south runway is 3,196 m (10,486 ft) long. A smaller 925 m (3,035 ft) runway, used for general aviation, lies to the east; its final approach crosses the main runway. The final approach to the main south-facing runway is located directly overhead Cairns' northern beach suburbs. The flight path to the south is located directly over the Cairns Esplanade.

The airport is located approximately 6 kilometres north from Cairns Central Shopping Centre and is situated on Airport Avenue off Sheridan Street (Captain Cook Highway). Rental Cars are located at the domestic terminal in the temporary arrivals lounge, while bus shuttles to Cairns and Port Douglas depart hourly. Taxis are also available 24 hours a day and cost around $12 to the city centre.

Airlines and destinations

Airlines Destinations Terminal
Aero-Tropics Air Services Bamaga Domestic
Airfast Indonesia Timika International MD-88
Air New Zealand Auckland International B767-300, A320-200
Air Niugini Moro, Port Moresby, Rabaul, Tabubil International F100, DASH 8 200/300
Airlines PNG Lihir Island, Mt Hagen, Port Moresby International DASH 8 100
Alliance Airlines Cloncurry, Groote Eylandt, Sydney, Townsville, Trepell Domestic F100
Alliance Airlines Alotau, Port Moresby (Begins May 1) [3], International F100
Asia Pacific Airlines Tabubil International
Australian air Express Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney Cargo B737-300F
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong1 International A330-300
Continental Airlines operated by Continental Micronesia Guam International B737-800, 767-400
HeavyLift Cargo Airlines Honiara, Port Moresby Cargo B727-200F
Hinterland Aviation Dunk island, Lizard island Domestic
Hinterland Aviation Daru, Tabubil International
Jetstar Airways Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney Domestic A320-200, A321-200, A330-200
Jetstar Airways Darwin, Gold Coast, Osaka-Kansai (Begins April 1)[4], Singapore, Tokyo-Narita, Sydney (Begins April 2) International A321-200, A330-200
Qantas Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney Domestic B737-400, B737-800, B767-300, A330-300, A330-200, B747-400
Qantas Hong Kong (Seasonal) International A330-200, A330-300
QantasLink Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Brisbane, Cloncurry(charter), Darwin, Gladstone, Gove, Hamilton Island, Horn Island, Mackay, Rockhampton, Townsville, Weipa Domestic DASH 8 200/300/Q400, B717-200, B737-400
QantasLink Port Moresby (Begins July 1) [5] International DASH 8 Q400
Regional Pacific Airlines Bamaga, Mount Isa Domestic EMB 120
Skytrans Airlines Aurukun Mission, Coen, Cooktown, Bamanga, Karumba, Lockhart River, Mount Isa, Cloncurry, Normanton, Edward River, Kowanyama, Burketown, Mornington Island, Doomadgee, Palm Island, Townsville Domestic
Skytrans Airlines Port Moresby International DASH 8 100
Vincent Aviation Bathurst Island, Darwin, Groote Eylandt Domestic
Vincent Aviation Port Moresby International
Virgin Blue Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Townsville [6] Domestic ERJ190, ERJ170, B737-700, B737-800
Virgin Blue operated by Pacific Blue Auckland [Begins March 23] [7] International B737-800

^1 Selected Cathay Pacific services from Cairns to Hong Kong (and vice versa) stop in Brisbane. However, this airline does not convey domestic passengers.

Emergency service


Total passengers for the year ending June 30[8]
Year Total
2008 3,856,418 (2,963,540 domestic and 892,878 international).
2006 3,731,000
2004 3,222,000
2000 2,891,000
1995 2,419,000
1990 1,288,000
1985 578,000
Busiest Domestic Routes out of Cairns Airport
(YE December 2009)
Rank Airport Passengers  % Change
1 Queensland Brisbane Airport 1,154,800 3.5
2 New South Wales Sydney Airport 832,000 11.4
3 Victoria (Australia) Melbourne Airport 389,800 19.1
Busiest International Routes out of Cairns Airport (FY 2008)[10]
Rank Airport Passengers handled  % Change
1 Japan Narita International Airport 224,588 4.9
2 Papua New Guinea Jacksons International Airport 62,795 7.9
3 Singapore Singapore Changi Airport 61,879 6.4
4 Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport 56,010 8.6
5 New Zealand Auckland Airport 53,745 11.8
6 Guam Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport 22,980 0.6
Busiest International Freight Routes out of Cairns Airport (FY 2008)[11]
Rank Airport Freight handled  % Change
1 Hong Kong Hong Kong International Airport 2,984.0 13.1
2 Singapore Singapore Changi Airport 811.4 0.2

Ground transport


ranks are located near both the International and Domestic Terminals. Black & White Taxi ranks are located immediately outside the International and Domestic Terminals.


Airport shuttle bus services to hotels, city centre, Northern Beaches, Palm Cove, Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation are available.


Short-term and long-term parking and parking for people with a disability are located within the public carparks adjacent to both the Domestic and International Terminals. The public carparks are fully-automated and operate 24 hours per day. They are run by Wilson Parking.

See also


External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address