Airport (IATA: ADL, ICAO: YPAD) is located next to West
Beach, South Australia. It serves Adelaide, the capital
city of South Australia. Although owned by the Commonwealth
Government, the airport is managed independently by Adelaide
Airport Limited (AAL). Adelaide International Airport
processes in excess of 5.4 million passengers annually,
which is set to grow by 6 percent for the first year since
the opening of the new terminal.
First opened on 16 February 1955 the
airport is built on land once used for market gardens.
The construction also bisected an arterial road to West
Beach. The airport took over from Parafield Airport as
the main airport for Adelaide. Parafield is now a smaller
airport now mainly used for small aircraft, pilot training
and recreational aviation. The first aircraft to land
at Adelaide Airport was a DC-3 registration VH-CAO on
16 December 1954 flown by the Department of Civil Aviation
(now the Civil Aviation Safety Authority) to ensure that
the airport was ready to use.
The airport operates under a curfew
from 2300-0600 which limits (but does not totally prohibit)
aircraft movements. Adelaide Metro operates a frequent
bus service, JetBus, from the terminal via Adelaide CBD
out to the suburbs of Modbury and Elizabeth along the
The largest remaining component
of the Patawalonga Creek wetlands lies within an area
that had previously been planned to become a third runway
at the airport. These plans were abandoned as the result
of environmental concerns.
Adelaide had no international terminal
until the original International Terminal opened in 1984.
The airport is seldom referred to by its official name,
the Thomas Playford International Airport, named after
South Australia's longest-serving Premier. Proposed as
an election "sweetener" in the early 1980s,
this terminal was under-sized and within a few years proved
unable to handle more than one international arrival at
a time; due to the airport's curfew, international flights
were forced to arrive after 0600. This regularly entailed
three fully-laden Boeing 747s landing within a few minutes
of each other. Chaos ensued as 1000-plus passengers attempted
to disembark and pass through a facility designed to handle
a fraction of that.
Main concourse terminal one, 2006The airport was redeveloped
in 2005 at a cost of $260 million. The redevelopment was
managed by builders Hansen Yuncken. Before the redevelopment,
the old airport terminal was criticised for its limited
capacity and lack of aerobridges.
Proposals were developed for an upgraded
terminal of true international standard. The final proposal,
released in 1997, called for a large, unified terminal
in which both domestic and international flights would
use the same terminal. A combination of factors, the most
notable of which was the collapse of Ansett Australia,
then a duopoly domestic carrier with Qantas, and the resultant
loss of funds for its share of the construction cost,
saw the new terminal plans shelved until an agreement
was reached in 2002.
The new terminal was opened by the Prime
Minister John Howard and Premier of South Australia Mike
Rann on 7 October 2005. However a few days after the opening
ceremony it was announced only international flights would
use the new facility immediately. There were problems
with the fuel pumps and underground pipes. These problems
related initially to the anti-rusting agent applied to
the insides of the fuel pumps, then to construction debris
in the pipes. International and regional (from December
2005) aircraft could continue to use fuel tankers however
this was not suitable for the domestic jet aircraft due
to a lack of space. With the re-fueling system finally
cleared of all debris, the new terminal was used for all
flights from 17 February 2006 .
The new airport terminal is approximately
850 metres end to end and is capable of handling 27 aircraft
simultaneously and processing 3,000 passengers per hour.
One regional airline operator, Rex,
has complained that its passengers were having to walk
long distances to board and disembark their planes. Rex
threatened AAL that they would move back to the old terminal
if an agreement could not be met. AAL has responded to
these concerns with additional travelators and possibly
a shuttle bus. However, after further discussions,
AAL has said a shuttle bus would be financially inviable.
The airport is capable of accommodating
the enormous Airbus A380, although there are no plans
for the airport to be served by this aircraft by any airline.
In November 2005, Jetstar Airways announced
it would be basing two aircraft at the airport. This will
provide jobs and add four new routes to Adelaide with
Jetstar, notably the Sunshine Coast and Hamilton Island.
Adelaide Airport combined with
Internode Systems offer free wireless Internet access
throughout the terminal via the Internode Wireless Hotspot
network. Customers are able to log in as a guest for web-based
access or using their existing Internode account details
for full Internet access. Adelaide's domestic and international
airport terminal was the first airport precinct in Australia
to feature free wireless web access.
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