In 1919, when the England to Australia
air race was announced, Darwin
Airport was established in the suburb of Parap to act as the Australian Terminal. It operated as two airports, a civilian airport and a military field.
It frequently took hits from Japanese bombing through the Second World War, and was used by the Allies to project air power into the Pacific
. The airport hosted Spitfires, Hudson Bombers, Kittyhawks, C-47s, B-24 Liberators, B-17 Fortresses and PBY Catalinas.
In 1945 the Department of Aviation made the existing Darwin
military airfield available for civil aviation purpose. As a result, the civilian airport at Parap was closed down and airport operations combined with the military airport.
Between 1950 and 1974 Darwin
Airport acted as the primary domestic and international airport for the Northern Territory
and a very important stop for airlines flying between Australia
, Asia and onwards to Europe. Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin
in 1974 and flattened the city. The airport was used to ferry 25,628 people out of Darwin
Airport was extensively used to assist United Nations operations in East Timor from 1999, and to support medical evacuations following the 2002 Bali bombings.Darwin
Airport has scheduled flights to destinations in the Northern Territory
, around Australia
and in Southeast Asia. Only one terminal is used for both domestic and international services
. The terminal has several food outlets and shops, with duty-free shopping for international travellers.