|Operator||Capital Airport Group Pty Ltd
Executive Chairman: Terry Snow
|Elevation AMSL||1,886 ft / 575 m|
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart
passenger and aircraftmovements from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE)
Canberra Airport (IATA: CBR, ICAO: YSCB), is the airport serving Australia's capital city, Canberra, the nearby city of Queanbeyan, NSW and south-eastern New South Wales. Located at the eastern edge of North Canberra, it is the eighth busiest airport in Australia.
The airport serves flights to the state capital cities of Australia, to Newcastle, Gold Coast, Wellington (New Zealand) and Singapore. Canberra Airport handled 3,240,848 passengers in financial year 2011. In 2009 Canberra Airport underwent a major redevelopment in which the old terminal was demolished and in its place a new concourse was constructed which fully opened in 2013.
The airport is located at the intersection of Canberra's main east-west artery (Parkes Way/Pialligo Avenue) and eastern ring road (Monaro Highway/Majura Parkway) near the semi-rural suburb of Pialligo about an 8 minutes drive from the city centre, 15 minutes from Gungahlin and 10 minutes from Queanbeyan at non-peak times; travel times can sometimes be much longer at peak times due to traffic congestion.
The land is currently divided into four areas:
The airports controlling entity, is Capital Property Finance Pty Ltd, which had a 2014-15 income of $405 million. The airport is managed and operated by the Canberra Airport Group Pty Ltd. Terry Snow is the airport's executive chairman and his son Stephen Byron is the managing director.
The airport was built up from an old airstrip that was first laid down in the 1920s, not long after the National Capital site was decided. In 1939 it was taken over by the RAAF, with an area leased out for civil aviation.
On 13 August 1940, in what became known as the Canberra air disaster, a RAAF Lockheed Hudson flying from Melbourne crashed into a small hill to the east of the airport. Four crew and six passengers, including the Chief of the General staff and three Federal Government ministers, were killed in the accident. James Fairbairn, Minister for Air and Civil Aviation, was one of those killed and Fairbairn Airbase, the eastern component of the airport, was subsequently named after him. In 1962 the military side of the airport was renamed RAAF Base Fairbairn. The North-East quadrant of the airport still retains the Fairbairn name.
The lease to the site was sold to Canberra International Airport Pty Ltd in 1998, and the RAAF area was sub-leased back to the Department of Defence. It was decommissioned as a RAAF base in 2003, (although No. 34 Squadron RAAF remains based there), and the RAAF area was renamed Defence Establishment Fairbairn.
Before the airport redevelopment in 2009 there was one building made up two terminals. The former Qantas Terminal at Canberra Airport was located on the western side of the building. All Qantas and QantasLink flights and related services such as lounges now operate from the new Southern Concourse Terminal. The former terminal was demolished in 2011 to make way for the building of the second Western Concourse Terminal.
The former Common User Terminal was located on the far eastern side of the building. The terminal served Virgin Australia and briefily Tiger Airways. Also until 2001 the terminal was the home of Ansett Australia's operations from the airport. However, after the construction of the new Southern Concourse, only the terminal's departure lounge and gates 5 and 6 were in use. The Common User terminal was demolished in June 2013 after the opening of new Southern Concourse.
In 2008, Canberra International Airport launched an advertising campaign advocating the idea of having Canberra considered as Sydney's Second Airport. The slogan used was "Is the solution to Sydney's second airport still 20 years away? Less than 3 hours actually". This point of view was presented at "Canberra is the Only Serious Solution to Sydney's Air Traffic Problems."
The Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese rejected Canberra International Airport's draft master plan in November 2008, on the grounds that it did not provide enough detail on the proposal to develop the airport into a freight hub; and that the airport's community consultation had been insufficient. The Airport's 2005 master plan was also criticised by the then-Howard Government for not providing enough information.
In the second half of 2008, Canberra International Airport Pty Ltd started referring to itself as "Canberra Airport".
In early December 2007, plans were announced to construct a new terminal, with works commencing in July 2008, and completion set for September 2010. When completed, the terminal would have six aerobridges (an increase of two), 32 check-in counters, (twice the current number), 2,500 car parking spaces (doubled), three times the baggage belt capacity, and the floor area of the lounge facilities would be quadrupled.
In April 2009, Canberra Airport announced that it would spend $350 million on a number of infrastructure projects:
Changes to the terminal included:
It placed a 4.5-minute animated video of the planned finished product on its website.
The project was given the go ahead by Canberra International Airport executive chairman Terry Snow, to start late 2009. It was approved by the Australian Government in February 2008. The new terminal increased space by 65%. Completed as part of the redevelopment were 10 airbridges; two four-level car parks; and a still under construction under-cover taxi rank. Space will be made for the future requirements of international flights.
In 2010, 8 Brindabella Circuit, a building located in the administration area of the Airport precinct, won the 5 Green Stars Australian Excellence Award.
In November 2012, a national petition was started by 10-year-old Eve Cogan to name the new extensions after David Warren, inventor of the blackbox. The petition has been supported by Captain C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger.
In January 2016, Singapore Airlines announced four weekly flights from Singapore to Wellington via Canberra with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Dubbed "Capital Express" it is the first regular international service to Canberra in years and began on 21 September 2016.
The ACT Government and Canberra Airport had been attempting for years to attract international airlines such as Air Asia X, Air New Zealand, and Emirates or persuade Qantas or Virgin Australia to commence international flights from Canberra. The airport argues there is a strong business case for flights to New Zealand. Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron said he believed there was a case to support about three flights a week to the capital of Wellington and another three to Auckland. In addition, the airport believes in the viability of a direct daily flight to an Asian Hub airport (such as Singapore or Hong Kong) to accommodate one-stop flights to onward destinations in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Canberra has a population of 900,000 in its catchment area (approximately 75% of that of Adelaide which has 42 weekly international services from its airport). Its status as Australia's capital city and the above average income of residents in the surrounding area provide more arguments in favour of international services at the airport.
The projected traffic trends for the airport are on the decline, as Federal Government cuts take effect in an effort to reduce costs, and with more employment opportunities in Melbourne and Sydney the ACT is experiencing the largest fall in full-time positions in 2014 than any other state or territory. Qantas is also downsizing operations at the airport. However managing director of the airport Stephen Byron believes that the airport can grow with the increase in tourism for Canberra and the surrounding area, the establishment of nearby commercial and retail precincts and the potential for the airport to become a freight hub.
On 10 February 2009, Canberra Airport released its preliminary draft master plan which announced that a high-speed rail link between Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne was being considered. The plan was shortlisted in December 2008 by Infrastructure Australia for further consideration, however it was the most expensive project shortlisted, and has not attracted any funding from any government. The decision to build the Second Sydney Airport at Badgerys Creek has made a fast rail link to Canberra Airport unlikely in the foreseeable future.
The building's two wings, the Southern Concourse and the Western Concourse are separated by an Atrium, the centrepiece of the terminal.
Construction of the Southern Concourse was completed in late 2010 and came into service on 14 November. Qantas uses its check-in counters and departure gates. The Southern Concourse also includes The Qantas Club, The Qantas Business Class Lounge and The Qantas chairman's Lounge.
The Western Concourse opened in March 2013 and conjoins onto the Southern Concourse Terminal. Virgin Australia uses its check-in counters and departure gates. The Western Concourse also includes the 300 seat Virgin Lounge and Virgin's invitation-only The Club.
The western concourse was built with space for customs, immigration and quarantine facilities next to the Virgin lounge on the upper floor and on the ground floor. These areas were fitted out and opened when Singapore Airlines began its Canberra services to Wellington and Singapore. International flights arrive and depart from gate 5.
Over a dozen office buildings have also been built on airport land at Brindabella Business Park and Fairbairn. A retail precinct called Majura Park has been established on airport land along Majura Road.
|Qantas||Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney|
operated by Cobham
|Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney|
operated by Eastern Australia Airlines
operated by Sunstate Airlines
|Singapore Airlines||Singapore, Wellington|
|Virgin Australia||Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney
Seasonal: Perth [a] (begins 10 August 2017)
|Rank||Airport||Passengers handled||% Change|
|1||Sydney New South Wales||1,027,600||2.4|
|4||Adelaide South Australia||182,200||4.1|
While billboards have been barred in Canberra since the 1930s, an amendment of the National Capital Plan in 2000 allowed them to be displayed at Canberra Airport. Subsequently the airport has hosted advertisements promoting defence hardware. A community group said the airport should not be promoting weapons manufacturers. The airport defended the ads and said the airport would continue to accept defence industry advertising. In 2015 the airport was lit up in rainbow colours, and in 2017 electronic and 3D message boards were used to support marriage equality.
Approach and departure corridors lie over largely rural and industrial areas, although the instrument approach path (from the south) passes near the New South Wales suburb of Jerrabomberra, the city of Queanbeyan, and the Royal Australian Navy base, HMAS Harman, which has some barracks and housing.
Proposals have been made to the NSW Planning Minister by various developers to approve housing estates that are under the southern flight paths in New South Wales. Canberra International Airport Pty Ltd has been vigorous in advertising its opposition to these plans on the basis of a general increase in noise levels over a wide corridor which is currently free of aircraft noise, and concern that this will lead to the imposition of a curfew on the hours-of-operation of the airport.
The road system around Canberra Airport and the road between Civic and Canberra Airport was being duplicated as at July 2008, partly funded by Canberra Airport and the ACT Government. Federal Labor had also committed to further road improvements in the area through the extension of the Monaro Highway.
The Chief Minister of the ACT Government, Jon Stanhope, initially blamed the Commonwealth for the increased traffic congestion around the airport, which he claimed had occurred due to the construction of office buildings on airport land, however, Mr Stanhope later stated that while he accepted the development of the airport added to the level of traffic on the roads, it was not the cause of the congestion during peak periods. The ACT Government established a roundtable working group to examine the roads around the Airport and identify solutions to the road congestion through the Majura Valley. The roundtable identified that the cause of the road traffic was increased traffic from Gungahlin;, the expansion of the airport; and Queanbeyan's growing population. The working group recommended a staged approach to solving the traffic congestion, with Stage 1 including the duplication of Pialligo Avenue, Morshead Drive and Fairbairn Avenue.
Media related to Canberra International Airport at Wikimedia Commons