Bankstown Airport is situated 22 kilometres South West of Sydneys central business district and 5 kilometres West of Bankstowns city centre. The M-5 Motorway provides 30 minute access to the Sydney CBD and 15 minute access to Sydney Airport domestic and international terminals. Bankstown Airport is surrounded by a broad range of manufacturing and service industries and has direct access to the M-5 Motorway from Henry Lawson Drive and River Road. It is bordered to the South by Milperra Road, a primary arterial roadway and has excellent access to other metropolitan business and residential centres.
There are several access points to the M-5 from Sydneys CBD providing a 30 minute journey to the East Hills exit on Henry Lawson Drive. Turn right onto Henry Lawson drive, cross Milperra Road to turn right at the Airport entrance at Tower Road. Continuing along Tower Road will provide access to the main business park areas on the Northern side of Bankstown Airport.
If approaching from Hume Highway, turn into Edgar Street, Yagoona, then right into Marion Street, and left into Airport Avenue.
Established in 1940, Bankstown Airport is located on the doorstep of Western Sydney, just 22km south-west of the metropolitan central business district, and two kilometres from the M-5. The facility is constructed on a 313 hectare site comprising four runways, extensive taxiway and apron areas and a thriving business park, home to over 170 successful businesses.
World War II
Bankstown Airport was originally planned in 1929. The plan to build an airport at Bankstown was put on hold until it was established in 1940, after the commencement of World War II when the Department of Civil Aviation attained 630 acres (2.5 km2) of land for development as an Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) facility. Initially known as RAAF Station Bankstown, the station becoming RAAF Bankstown on 2 December 1940.
When General MacArthur arrived in Australia, during World War II, Bankstown Airport was taken over by the United States Army Air Force, and was established as a key strategic air base to support the war effort in 1942. It became home to members of the 35th Pursuit Group and the 49th Pursuit Group from 1942 to 1944. In 1945 operations became the responsibility of the British Fleet Air Arm, known as Royal Naval Air Station Bankstown, HMS Nabberley, before being handed back to the RAAF on 31 March 1946.
During the war, several "dummy houses" were built to make Bankstown Airport and its surrounds appear as a farm, hangars were disguised as houses with fake roads to further confuse the enemy. There was a command post on Black Charlies Hill, also known as the Bankstown Bunker, or No. 1 Fighter Sector RAAF. The airport had gun pits located within and around its perimeter to protect it from air attack. Part of its defences included an anti-aircraft battery situated on the Corner of Bexley Road and Homer Street, Kingsgrove to help protect the approaches to the airport. After the war it was considered as an international airport terminal but certain limitations made it unsuitable for this purpose.
De Havilland Australia has been affiliated with the airport opening a factory at the airfield in 1942, occupying the area to the south of the runway.
Units based at Bankstown during World War II:
In the late 1970s Hawker de Havilland relocated their Lidcombe plant to Bankstown Airport.
In 1970 the government put forth a proposal to expand the airport’s operations but this was vigorously opposed by the local community.
The airport operates 24 hours a day with limitations placed on circuit training. In 2000/01 Airservices Australia (ASA) recorded just over 321,000 movements at the airport.
The mission of the airport companies is to "meet the current and future aviation needs of Sydney and develop the property assets to attain maximum sustainable value."
The airport companies are commercial businesses who are maximising return on the assets of the airports, and operating the airports efficiently as major aviation resources. The management team is committed to:
The airport companies will also operate as good corporate citizens with a commitment to community and environmental issues, and to the delivery of safe and uninterrupted operations at the airports.
The airport has three runways. The primary runway (11C/29C) is 1,415m x 30m, is rated at 20 tonnes and limited at 50 tonnes MTOW. Further details can be obtained in the Enroute Supplement published by AirServices Australia.
Taxiways & Aprons
Selective taxiways and aprons are rated at 20 tonnes and limited to 50 tonnes MTOW. Further details can be obtained in the Enroute Supplement published by AirServices Australia.
Runway 11C/29C has three stage, high intensity edge lights and a Precision Approach Path Indicator or (PAPI).
Air Traffic Control
Bankstown has its own dedicated Air Traffic Control Tower, operated by Airservices Australia, and uses Class D airspace procedures. The operating hours for the tower are published in the Enroute Supplement.
Runway 11C/29C has a straight in GPS approach procedure. There is also a Radar Approach Procedure and a Non Directional Beacon (NDB) located at the airport.
The existing small passenger terminal at the airport is capable of handling up to 200 passengers per hour. Vehicle parking is available at no charge. Arriving passengers can arrange for taxi pick up at the terminal. The main airport entrance is also serviced by a local bus service to Bankstown railway station. The terminal plays host to numerous events year round such as the annual Sydney Aviation Model Show.
Accidents and incidents
On 15 September 1982, a Douglas C-47 (c/n 6108, formerly registered VH-SBO), stored in the open, was damaged when the pilot of a light aircraft committed suicide by deliberately crashing it nearby. The C-47 was never repaired and was subsequently transferred to the airport fire dump.
The Airport’s Master Plan was approved in March 2005 by the Minister for Transport and Regional Services. The Plan governs the Airport’s operations until 2024-2025. The current approved Airport Environment Strategy is valid for five years until 2010, it outlines management plans for specific ground-based environmental issues.
A Filming Location
The Airport offers a range of aviation and non-aviation settings with large hangars to accommodate grand scale indoor filming. Bankstown is home the majority of Sydney’s Executive Jets and Helicopters, as well as the Australian Aviation Museum which showcases a range vintage aircraft. The site at Bankstown covers over 300 hectares with significant stretches of runways, tarmac, as well as wide and open spaces.
One of its hangers was recently used for the filiming of Top Gear Australia, however none of the track sections were filmed at Bankstown as it is so busy. They were predominantly filmed at nearby Camden Airport which is far quieter and is only a GAAP aerodrome on weekends (the rest of the time it is a CTAF(R)).
Bankstown Airport is owned by the Federal Government and leased by Bankstown Airport Limited, a subsidiary of BAC Airports Pty Limited, whose ultimate shareholders include JF Infrastructure, Colonial First State and Westscheme. BAC Airports also owns Camden Airport, another of the two general aviation airports in the Sydney basin. Bankstown Airport’s business precincts are home to a large number of non-aviation businesses in addition to the many aviation related ones.
The airport and the neighbouring Georges River Golf Course together form a suburb which is usually referred to as Bankstown Airport, although the official name is Bankstown Aerodrome. The suburb is part of the Bankstown local government area and shares the postcode 2200 with its eastern neighbour, Condell Park.
The Australian Aviation Museum is located at Bankstown Airport it was opened in February, 1994
Sydney Metro Airports Bankstown and Camden
Tel: (02) 9796 2300
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