On the top western part of the Northern Territory is Darwin, the capital city of the region. Travellers interested in visiting this tropical city can arrive through Darwin International Airport, located around 8 miles from the city centre. It is one of the busiest airports in Australia, handling an average of 20,000 aircraft movements transporting more than a million passengers every year. The land area of this port of entry is not solely dedicated to commercial flights, however, as Darwin Airport shares the field and air space with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in the region.
Opening after the World War II, Darwin Airport became the replacement port of entry when the smaller civilian airport in Parap closed down. From then on to the early 1970s, Darwin became a stopover point for travellers flying from other parts of Australia to Asia and Europe. Alitalia and Air India were two of the airlines that had hubs here, but they pulled out in the Jet Age when longer-range aircraft were introduced in the mid-1970s.
Darwin Airport's strategic position through the years made it a useful take-off and dropping point for relief operations. It served well in 1974, when more than 20,000 people were evacuated out of the city when Cyclone Tracy ravaged the area. Operations of the United Nations also took off here to assist East Timor in 1999. Medical evacuations by international relief operations also took place here in 2002 when the Bali bombings occurred.
Today, Darwin Airport is taking on an improvement plan to properly serve the burgeoning needs of travellers across Australia, Asia, and Europe. Four airlines from Southeast Asia arranged for direct flight connections here between 2012 and 2013, widening the presence of Darwin Airport across the region.
Only one passenger terminal currently handles domestic and international flights in Darwin Airport. This area operates 24 hours a day all week to serve travellers who have just arrived or are about to leave Darwin. Airlines serving here include Airnorth, Alliance Airlines, Fly Tiwi, Indonesia AirAsia, Jetstar Airways, Jetstar Asia Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Qantas, QantasLink, Silk Air, Tigerair Australia, and Virgin Australia.
Passengers going here will also see cargo loaded and unloaded here, which goes between the area and other parts of Australia.
Services and Facilities
Travellers will find a variety of facilities in Darwin Airport. Those looking for financial services will find ATMs and kiosks offering foreign exchange to provide local currency. There are also change machines available on the ground floor of the terminal, so tourists can get smaller bills or coins. This makes it more convenient to purchase snacks and refreshments from various dining establishments in the airport. Those looking for certain goods can also head to the shopping outlets to check out the merchandise for essentials and souvenirs.
Darwin Airport also makes it easier for travellers to carry their large suitcases and bags. Baggage trolleys are offered free of charge in the Baggage Collection area, public car park, and other parts of the terminal. A lost property service is also available in the Terminal Control Centre for those with missing baggage or personal items. Lockers, on the other hand, are served for those who want to leave their baggage behind the airport. Different sizes are accommodated, with each size corresponding to a certain fee.
More services can be found in Darwin Airport. Those travelling with infants and toddlers can change the little ones' nappies in baby change rooms on the ground and first floors. Wireless Internet, telephones, smoking areas, water fountains, lavatories and showers, as well as a postal box are provided. Darwin Airport also accommodates the physically handicapped with disabled access and parking services for their needs. Those who have arranged for pickup at the airport can also go to the parking areas, while those considering other modes of transport can take either a shuttle bus, taxi, or a private hire car.
Another special service provided by the airport is the Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS), which allows travellers to reimburse the additional amount they paid for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the Wine Equalisation Tax (WET). This service is available only for overseas visitors and Australian residents except for the airport's operating crew. Tourists can benefit from this only up to 30 minutes before the scheduled departure of their flights.
Airports near Darwin: