Adelaide Airport is a pretty amazing place. Read on to see why!

Our terminal is long and skinny… it measures roughly 110m wide and is about 850m (2,790 ft.) end to end… that’s almost 1km!

Close your eyes and imagine the Adelaide Oval. Can you see it? Now close your eyes and imagine 495 Adelaide Ovals! Can’t do it? Well, that’s the area covered by Adelaide Airport — 800 hectares or 8 million square metres — that’s massive!

While we’re on the subject of Adelaide Airport’s location, you might want to remember that the land we’re on has been leased from the Commonwealth for 99 years. The lease began in May 1998. So we’re not going anywhere till the year 2097! Who knows, maybe we’ll be travelling in spaceships by then!

It’s not easy being an airport, especially if you’re an airport like ours. If things get busy, we can handle over 3,000 passengers within the terminal in just one hour! Plus, we can help 24 aircraft to land in that same hour. Who knows one day you might end up working at the airport with us to make it happen!

You know how you can use the street view on Google Maps to see what a particular area looks like? You can use Google Street View inside our terminal! In fact, we were the first Australian airport to have this feature back in July 2013. Not only that, we were also the second airport in the world to have this feature.

Adelaide Airport has 2 runways:

  • 05/23 (050° and 230° from North) – 3100 metres
  • 12/30 (120° and 300° from North) – 1652 metres

So where did these numbers come from? All runways are numbered based on the magnetic azimuth (the compass bearing) in which a runway is oriented. There are 360 degrees on a compass rose. Runway numbers are determined by rounding the compass bearing of one runway end to the nearest 10 degrees and truncating the last digit, meaning runways are numbered from 1 to 36. The opposite end of the runway always differs by 180 degrees.

Dig into our history and you’ll find some pretty cool facts!

Around 60 years ago, back when your grandparents were around your age, the first commercial flight landed at Adelaide Airport. It was on Wednesday, the 16th February, 1955; and the flight was from Perth. Back then it took 6.5 hours – that’s like a whole day at school! Thankfully, today it takes less than that.

Not only was our terminal officially opened in October 2005 by the 25th Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, but perhaps our coolest guest that attended the opening celebrations was Australia’s first astronaut, Adelaide born Andy Thomas!

Ever seen something from South America here in South Australia? In June 2011, an ash cloud from the Puyehue-Cordon Caulle volcanic eruption blew all the way from Chile, right across the South Pacific Ocean and sat over Southern Australia and New Zealand, causing flights to be cancelled right across Australia.

If you want to see something really amazing, pop over to the special building At Adelaide Airport that houses the Vickers Vimy airplane. This is the original aircraft that flew all the way from England to Australia in 1919. Do you know how much time it took? 28 days! Click here to read more about its journey and the brave, adventurous pilots back then from South Australia.

While you’re out having a wander, look out for the names of the streets around the airport. Most of them are named after famous aviators… see if you can recognise any of the names on our grounds map.

Flying is fun. But facts about flying are even more fun!

Founded in 1920, Australia’s national carrier, Qantas, is the world’s second oldest airline (KLM is the oldest). Not only are they the second oldest but they have the best safety record across the world. Even better, they are credited with inventing business class back in 1979!

Of all the people in the world, only 5% of the world’s population have ever travelled on an aircraft – just imagine how lucky you are!

If you were a female pilot back in the old days, people would call you an Aviatrix.

Next time you’re feeling hungry on a flight, think about this. Between 1978 – 1980, a French entertainer named Monsieur Mangetout ate a whole plane — a Cessna 150. He slowly broke metal parts down into tiny pieces, and consumed plenty of water and mineral oil throughout the meal. (Don’t try this at home)!

MAYDAY is from the French “m’aidez”, meaning “help me”.

If you become the American President some day, you won’t be allowed to travel with the Vice President. So that both of you aren’t on the same flight in case there’s an accident. The same goes with Prince Charles and Prince William!

Are you good at making paper planes? Next time you make one, keep track of how long it stays in the air. The longest paper plane flight recorded lasted 27.6 seconds! Reckon you can beat that?

Little known facts about things that make a big difference.

Ever heard of a Black Box flight recorder? Well, actually, it’s not black, but orange. And it records all the flight data so that any problems can easily be tracked. Anyway, this important piece of equipment was invented in Australia by Dave Warren. So when you’re up there, think of Dave and his cool invention that helps keep track of everything on the flight!

You know how we measure our lives in years? The life of an airplane is measured in pressurisations. Each time the cabin is pressurised during a flight, a little bit of stress is put on the airplane’s body. The general rule is about 75,000 pressurisations per aircraft. That’s about 20 – 25 years. How old is the aircraft that you’ll be flying on? Maybe ask the flight attendant when you get on the plane.

How’s this for a fun fact — the A380’s wingspan is wider than the aircraft is long. That means, it would take you longer to go from one wingtip to the other than it would to get from nose to tail!

If you go into the cockpit and ask the pilot and co-pilot what they had to eat, they’ll always give you a different answer. Because they’re not allowed to eat the same meal! The idea is if one pilot suffers food poisoning then the other is able to continue flying the aircraft without any discomfort. Wouldn’t be fun if both pilot and co-pilot fell sick on your flight, now would it?

Know how Superman’s weakness is Kryptonite? Airplanes also have their own weakness. Since their bodies are made of aluminium, they can’t stand to be anywhere near Mercury.

Get the inside scoop on some of lingo used in the Aviation industry!

Did you know that people in the aviation business have a different way of referring to time? The table below explains how. But just to give you an example, we don’t say 7am; we say “oh seven hundred hours”. And instead of 7pm; we say “nineteen hundred hours”. Can you guess how we say 11am and 11pm?

0000 – 12am (midnight) 1200 – 12pm (midday)
0100 – 1am 1300 – 1pm
0200 – 2am 1400 – 2pm
0300 – 3am 1500 – 3pm
0400 – 4am 1600 – 4pm
0500 – 5am 1700 – 5pm
0600 – 6am 1800 – 6pm
0700 – 7am 1900 – 7pm
0800 – 8am 2000 – 8pm
0900 – 9am 2100 – 9pm
1000 – 10am 2200 – 10pm
1100 – 11am 2300 – 11pm


We don’t just refer to the time differently, we also have a different way of referring to the letters in the alphabet. Instead of simply saying “A” or “B”, we say a specific word that starts with that letter. For example, instead of saying “A”, we say “Alpha”; and instead of saying “B”, we say “Bravo”. So if someone’s name is “Sam”, we’d say “Sierra Alpha Mike”. It’s like speaking in a special code with specific words for each letter, as shown in the table below. How would you say your name using this code?

A – Alpha N – November
B – Bravo O – Oscar
C – Charlie P – Papa
D – Delta Q – Quebec
E – Echo R – Romeo
F – Foxtrot S – Sierra
G – Golf T – Tango
H – Hotel U – Uniform
I – India V – Victor
J – Juliet W – Whiskey
K – Kilo X – X ray
L – Lima Y – Yankee
M – Mike Z – Zulu