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Flightline: 29/TBD

Airliners parked at Alice Springs Airport
Airliners parked at Alice Springs Airport
Photo: Steve Strike

Alice Springs Airport, Alice Springs, NT, Australia, 2020

The first recorded landing in Alice Springs was in 1921, and by 1939 Survey & Inland Transport(renamed Connellan Airways in 1943, then Connair, then sold to East-West Airlines) had established its headquarters at the Town Site Drome (now the site of the Central Australian Aviation Museum). Spurred on by the gathering clouds of war with Japan in the late 1930s, a larger airport known as Seven Mile Aerodrome was built. Seven Mile was used by the RAF, RAAF and USAAF during WWII, when it functioned as a staging and refueling base for transports. After the war the field was renamed Alice Springs Airport and in 1961 the main runway was extended to its current length of 7,999 feet, long enough to allow landings (but not fully loaded takeoffs) of 747, 777 and A380 wide body aircraft.

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The airport was the site of two notable incidents in the 1970s: the 1972 hijacking of Ansett Airlines Flight 232, Australia’s second such hijacking, which resulted in the death of the hijacker, and the 1977 suicide attack on the Connellan headquarters, in which a disgruntled employee flew a Beech Baron 58 into the building, killing himself and four others, as well as injuring four more.

Alice Springs is a regional airport, and is served by several domestic airlines, with 640 thousand passengers moved through in 2011. That year, Asia Pacific Aircraft Storage chose the site for the first large-scale aircraft boneyard outside the US, due to Alice Springs climate. Similar to AMARG in Tuscon, the facility would store aircraft when not in service, as well as part out and recycle retired airliners. As a result of the Coronapocalypse, a number of airlines began parking aircraft there, including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, Scoot and NokScoot.

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Planes from Singapore Airlines parked in the desert near Alice Springs, Australia
Planes from Singapore Airlines parked in the desert near Alice Springs, Australia
Photo: Steve Strike

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