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Darwin Airport Preliminary Draft 2017 Master Plan and Environment Strategy released for public comment

Darwin International Airport (DIA) today released its Preliminary Draft 2017 Master Plan and Airport Environment Strategy for public comment.

All leased Federal airports are subject to a planning framework set out in the Airports Act 1996 and must prepare 20-year master plans, updated every five years and including a five-year environment strategy.

They are submitted to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport for approval, outlining key developments in the previous five years and planned growth, DIA Chief Executive Officer Ian Kew said.

This is the fourth master plan issued by DIA since the airport was privatised in 1998. The last master plan was issued in 2010. The deadline for the current one was extended by the Minister to accommodate Defence considerations, including preparation of new aircraft noise contours.

“The 2017 master plan is broadly similar to the 2010 document in terms of its land use zones and forecast growth,” Mr Kew said. “Changes to proposed land use largely reflect projected aviation growth, the evolving needs of the airport’s business partners and the potential to diversify airport income by expanding our property portfolio.”

Mr Kew said key developments since 2010 include:

  • a $75 million terminal expansion
  • the new Catalina international lounge
  • growth of Darwin Airport Central, as part of the airport’s property portfolio
  • the airport’s recent 5.5 MW solar project
  • upgraded aprons, taxiway and airfield lighting
  • construction of an aviation and medical retrieval facility
  • a new privately operated helicopter hangar
  • expanded car parking to accommodate general aviation growth and staff car parking for the INPEX project.

Mr Kew said the airport provided important transport infrastructure for the Northern Territory, with aviation connectivity supporting trade, tourism, commercial and military transport. It is one of the Territory’s largest employers, supporting 1800 workers, either directly or through businesses operating on airport land, and contributes $270 million a year or 1.2% of the Territory’s Gross State Product.

Growth in aeronautical activities has slowed since 2010 but the past six years has seen a diversification of aircraft flying through Darwin and a shift from predominantly low-cost airlines to more full-service flights servicing Asian and Australian routes.

In the next 20 years, DIA expects passengers through the airport to grow from two to six million, jobs supported by airport businesses to rise to 3000, and its GSP contribution to double.

“We are positioning ourselves as the hub for northern Australia, including services to the offshore oil and gas industry, tourism links to Asia and expanded choices for regional centres,” he said.

“Just as importantly, we dedicate substantial time and effort to our social performance and relationships with the community in which we operate,” he said.


The Preliminary Draft Master Plan and Airport Environment Strategy were prepared in consultation with a number of key stakeholders, the airport’s Community Consultation Group and Planning Coordination Forum.

They are available for public comment for 60 business days, until 6 June 2017 by email to, by mail to PO Box 40996, Casuarina. NT. 0811.

Copies of the reports and a summary document are available from the airport’s website at They can also be obtained by emailing or phoning 08 8920 1811.

Background on Darwin International Airport

Darwin International Airport is a joint-user airport with the Department of Defence and has a 50-year lease with a 49-year option to renew from the Australian Government.

DIA’s parent company is the Airport Development Group, which owns 100 per cent of Northern Territory Airports Pty Ltd (NTAPL). NTAPL in turn owns all of Darwin International Airport Pty Ltd (DIA) and Alice Springs Airport Pty Ltd, which hold leases over Darwin International Airport and Alice Springs Airport.

Since obtaining the Darwin lease in 1998, ADG has invested more than $395 million in airport facilities, including the terminal expansion finished in 2015.

DIA plays a major role in Darwin’s economic growth, including aviation facilities, roads and commercial activities, and is strategically important to the growth of the Northern Territory’s tourism, trade, business and leisure activities.

The purpose of a master plan

The purpose of the master plan is to guide progressive and orderly development of airport land and aviation facilities. It forecasts growth to ensure DIA is well-positioned to invest in aviation and commercial infrastructure, while taking account of operational, economic, environmental and social factors. It describes current and proposed land use, areas earmarked for future aviation or commercial development and conservation zones.

Media contact:

Jodi Linnett Executive Assistant to CEO, NT Airports

(08) 8920 1808 |