Jandakot Airport

2014 © David Eyre

Earlier general aviation airports in Perth

The first official General Aviation airport for Perth (excluding the unofficial airport at Langley Park from 1921 to 1924) was Maylands Aerodrome, which opened in January 1924.

It was located in what was at that time was a semi-rural area, with no urban development around.

Maylands Aerodrome was somewhat restricted in size by its location at the end of a peninsula on the Swan River, and its grass runways and hangar areas were also subject to flooding. Aviation operations began to move to Guildford Aerodrome (later renamed Perth Airport) after the end of World War Two, as it had more space and paved runways. In 1955, the Government announced that Maylands was to be closed, as it was becoming increasingly unsuitable for aviation operations. In 1959, the Royal Aero Club moved from Maylands to Perth Airport, until a new general aviation airport could be built.

Another general aviation aerodrome was established at West Subiaco, and this operated from 1931 to 1940.

Jandakot Airport History

Land acquisition for Perth’s new general aviation airport began in 1959, with 520 hectares of unproductive farmland in Jandakot initially acquired (today the airport site is 622 hectares).

Construction of Jandakot Airport began in 1961/2.

On 30 June 1963, Maylands Aerodrome finally closed and Jandakot Airport officially opened the next day, on 1 July 1963.

Jandakot Airport - 7 November 1963. State Library of Western Australia photo 257751PD
Jandakot Airport – 7 November 1963.
State Library of Western Australia photo 257751PD

Jandakot Airport - 7 November 1963. State Library of Western Australia photo 257752PD
Jandakot Airport – 7 November 1963.
State Library of Western Australia photo 257752PD

After negotiations, the Royal Aero Club moved from Perth Airport to a government hangar at Jandakot in 1965. In its book “Wings of Change”, the Royal Aero Club described the move to Jandakot as a very difficult time, with some even predicting that the Club would collapse. Jandakot wasn’t even shown on road maps – it had a narrow access road winding through bushland, quite far from urban areas. This isolation resulted in some staff seeking employment elsewhere. There was no office or clubhouse, increasing flight training competition (by 1967, there were four flying schools at Jandakot) and the Aero Club was located out of sight over a hill. The Department of Civil Aviation had initially planned to dismantle the old, timber Maylands buildings and reassemble them at Jandakot, but it was then decided that only brick buildings could be used, so the Aero Club had to operate from an office in their hangar.

Jandakot Airport - 1981. State Library of Western Australia photo 216886PD
Jandakot Airport – 1981.
State Library of Western Australia photo 216886PD

Whilst Jandakot grew in subsequent years, by 1986, the Federal Airports Corporation reported that Jandakot Airport was suffering losses of $1 million per annum, with the Return on Assets being negative 17.2%. The airport needed to increase revenue by 400% or seek other sources of revenue. A Master Plan was prepared at that time, which proposed the development of the extensive area of non-aeronautical land.

By 1988, there were still two runways, but aircraft movements were now up to 1,000 per day.  In 1991, a third runway (06R/24L) was constructed and by 1996, the airport was handling 400,000 movements per year – 80% of its maximum capacity of 500,000.

On July 1, 1998, the Commonwealth Government sold a 50-year lease over Jandakot Airport to Jandakot Airport Holdings Pty Ltd (JAH) for $6 million, with an option for a 49-year lease extension.

Failed attempt to relocate aviation operations away from Jandakot Airport

In 2006, Jandakot Airport Holdings was acquired by property developer Ascot Capital Limited.

Perth’s urban sprawl had by then grown to encircle Jandakot and with new major roads nearby, the value of the airport’s land had grown significantly. On 15 June 2006, Ascot Capital announced a proposal to relocate the airport’s aviation operations to a site at North Dandalup or Keysbrook, east of Mandurah.

There was strong opposition from the Jandakot Airport Chamber of Commerce and other users of the Airport, as many of the airport operators had invested significant time and money into building their businesses and hangars at Jandakot.

The State Government also opposed the proposal, recognising the strategic importance of keeping Jandakot Airport as an aviation base for emergency services and the many aviation businesses.

Residents and councils near the proposed new airport site of North Dandalup/Keysbrook also opposed the idea.

Finally, in December 2006, the former Federal Minister for Transport, Mark Vaile formally advised the leaseholders of Jandakot Airport that the Federal Government had effectively stopped any plans for relocating the airport and that under the Airports Act 1996 and the terms of the lease agreement, the leaseholders were required to give priority to running Jandakot Airport as an airport.

Second busiest airport in Australia

The sunny climate makes Jandakot Airport ideal for flying – in particular flight training, which contributes 80% of all aircraft movements.

In the financial year ended 30 June 2013, Jandakot Airport recorded 251,566 movements, making it the second busiest in Australia, after Sydney Airport. During 2011, Jandakot Airport was the busiest airport in Australia in terms of aircraft movements.

There are occasional complaints about aircraft noise, but these complaints are from people who chose to live close to an airport which was established long before the suburbs that were later built around it.

Around 500 aircraft are based at Jandakot.

Jandakot Airport with Perth city in the distance, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean, at Jandakot Airport - Sat 15 November 2014. Take-off from runway 06L at 9:02am for a flight to Geraldton, Dongara and return, with some sightseeing along the way. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport with Perth city in the distance, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean, at Jandakot Airport – Sat 15 November 2014.
Take-off from runway 06L at 9:02am for a flight to Geraldton, Dongara and return, with some sightseeing along the way.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean, at Jandakot Airport - Sat 15 November 2014. Just after take-off from runway 06L at 9:02am for a flight to Geraldton, Dongara and back. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean, at Jandakot Airport – Sat 15 November 2014.
Just after take-off from runway 06L at 9:02am for a flight to Geraldton, Dongara and back.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean - Sat 15 November 2014. View facing southeast along runway 12, as we entered the downwind leg for runway 24R. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean – Sat 15 November 2014.
View facing southeast along runway 12, as we entered the downwind leg for runway 24R.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean - Sat 15 November 2014. View facing southeast, as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R (running left to right across the photo. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean – Sat 15 November 2014.
View facing southeast, as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R (running left to right across the photo.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean - Sat 15 November 2014. View facing southeast across the Northern Apron, with helicopters visible outside the Heliwest hangar, and the neat rows of Cessna 172R Skyhawks of Singapore Flying College opposite their red-roofed facility. Seen as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R.
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean – Sat 15 November 2014.
View facing southeast across the Northern Apron, with helicopters visible outside the Heliwest hangar, and the neat rows of Cessna 172R Skyhawks of Singapore Flying College opposite their red-roofed facility. Seen as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean - Sat 15 November 2014. View facing south across the airport, as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean – Sat 15 November 2014.
View facing south across the airport, as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport runway 24R, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean - Sat 15 November 2014. View facing southwest as we turned onto final approach to runway 24R at 3:27pm. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport runway 24R, seen from VH-ICE Cirrus SR22 GTS G5 (MSN 4063) owned by Andrew Dean – Sat 15 November 2014.
View facing southwest as we turned onto final approach to runway 24R at 3:27pm.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. View facing north east as we fly over the control tower, descending and about to turn right to join the downwind leg for runway 24R. Visible are the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft of the Royal Flying Doctor Service at bottom centre, three yellow Air Tractor AT-802 water bombers of Dunn Aviation, a Grumman G-111 Albatross (VH-NMO) of Catalina Airlines, and the large hangar complex of the WA Police Air Wing at upper right. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
View facing north east as we fly over the control tower, descending and about to turn right to join the downwind leg for runway 24R. Visible are the Pilatus PC-12 aircraft of the Royal Flying Doctor Service at bottom centre, three yellow Air Tractor AT-802 water bombers of Dunn Aviation, a Grumman G-111 Albatross (VH-NMO) of Catalina Airlines, and the large hangar complex of the WA Police Air Wing at upper right.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. View facing east across the Northern Apron, as we join the downwind leg for runway 24R. At upper left are the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines. The large hangar above the wingtip is the WA Police Air Wing. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
View facing east across the Northern Apron, as we join the downwind leg for runway 24R. At upper left are the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines. The large hangar above the wingtip is the WA Police Air Wing.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. View facing north east across the Northern Apron, as we join the downwind leg for runway 24R. Visible are the Heliwest hangar at centre left, and the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
View facing north east across the Northern Apron, as we join the downwind leg for runway 24R. Visible are the Heliwest hangar at centre left, and the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. View facing east across the Northern Apron, as we fly the downwind leg for runway 24R. A number of geophysical survey aircraft are visible, distinctive with the magnetometer tail 'stingers' - this includes the CASA 212 used by CGG Airborne at the right of photo. In centre of photo is Polytechnic West with the Boeing 737-229 tail poking out the hangar. Upper right is Casair's maintenance facility with one of their Metro aircraft parked outside. At far left are the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines, with some of their Cessna 172R and Beech Baron G58 aircraft visible opposite. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
View facing east across the Northern Apron, as we fly the downwind leg for runway 24R. A number of geophysical survey aircraft are visible, distinctive with the magnetometer tail ‘stingers’ – this includes the CASA 212 used by CGG Airborne at the right of photo.
In centre of photo is Polytechnic West with the Boeing 737-229 tail poking out the hangar. Upper right is Casair’s maintenance facility with one of their Metro aircraft parked outside. At far left are the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines, with some of their Cessna 172R and Beech Baron G58 aircraft visible opposite.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. View facing ESE across the Northern Apron, as we join the downwind leg for runway 24R. At left are the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines. At right edge is the WA Police Air Wing hangar. At left edge is Heliwest. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
View facing ESE across the Northern Apron, as we join the downwind leg for runway 24R. At left are the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines. At right edge is the WA Police Air Wing hangar. At left edge is Heliwest.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. View facing ESE across the Northern Apron, as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R. At bottom left is Heliwest and centre right edge is Premiair's hangar, next to the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
View facing ESE across the Northern Apron, as we flew the downwind leg for runway 24R. At bottom left is Heliwest and centre right edge is Premiair’s hangar, next to the red-roofed buildings of Singapore Flying College, which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines.
Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. View facing west across the airport, as we join the base leg for runway 24R. Photo © David Eyre
Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
View facing west across the airport, as we join the base leg for runway 24R.
Photo © David Eyre
On approach to runway 24R at Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. Photo © David Eyre
On approach to runway 24R at Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
Photo © David Eyre
VH-AKF Mooney M20J 201 of Royal Aero Club of WA, taxying in front of the control tower at Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014. The Viewing Area is visible at upper left of photo. Photo © David Eyre
VH-AKF Mooney M20J 201 of Royal Aero Club of WA, taxying in front of the control tower at Jandakot Airport, seen from VH-LZJ SOCATA TBM 900 (MSN 1016) owned and flown by Jean-Jacques Bely, – Fri 14 November 2014.
The Viewing Area is visible at upper left of photo.
Photo © David Eyre

The future, and a fourth runway

Jandakot Airport Holdings’ vision is to “successfully develop and manage Jandakot Airport as a strategically significant aviation hub with a supporting business campus”, with “a balance between aviation growth, commercial development and environmental management”. Since 2006, JAH has invested tens of millions of dollars in airport infrastructure, including the northern aviation precinct, sewers, water, power, gas, internal roads, the large bridge over the railway tracks near the entry to the airport, and widening the entry road to become a dual carriageway. Much of the surplus land to the north of the airport has been leased for commercial developments.

JAH is now working on their Master Plan 2014, which includes:

  • Fourth runway (12L/30R) and taxiways. JAH sees the fourth runway as of major importance for operational efficiency and safety.
  • Aviation developments – hangars and aprons to the west of the current runway 12/30 – Precinct 6 and 6A
  • Six-fold increase in non-aviation commercial development
  • Road access
Jandakot Airport current layout (2014). Diagram © 2014 Jandakot Airport Holdings Pty Ltd
Jandakot Airport current layout (2014). Diagram © 2014 Jandakot Airport Holdings Pty Ltd
Jandakot Airport proposed layout, as included in the draft Master Plan 2014. Includes the fourth runway 12L/30R, new taxiways and proposed hangar developments next to taxiways K2, K3, and K4. Diagram © 2014 Jandakot Airport Holdings Pty Ltd
Jandakot Airport proposed layout, as included in the draft Master Plan 2014. Includes the fourth runway 12L/30R, new taxiways and proposed hangar developments next to taxiways K2, K3, and K4.
Diagram © 2014 Jandakot Airport Holdings Pty Ltd

Aviation companies at Jandakot (late 2014):

  • Flying schools include:
    • Royal Aero Club of Western Australia
    • China Southern West Australian Flying College (which trains pilots for China Southern Airlines)
    • Singapore Flying College (which trains pilots for Singapore Airlines)
    • Air Australia International
    • Minovation
    • Jandakot Flight Centre
    • Thunderbird Aviation Academy.
  • Jandakot serves as a base for essential/emergency services, including:
    • Department of Fire and Emergency Services:
      • firefighting aircraft and helicopters
      • RAC Rescue helicopter
    • Department of Parks and Wildlife – forest patrol / bushfire spotter aircraft
    • Royal Flying Doctor Service (Western Operations)
    • WA Police Air Wing
    • Medical Air
  • Aerial survey companies (geophysical, spatial and photographic survey) operating from Jandakot:
    • Fugro
    • Ozshore Aviation
    • UTS Aviation
  • Helicopter companies:
    • Heliwest
    • Helicopter Logistics
    • Rotorvation
  • Aircraft charter companies:
    • Paul Lyons Aviation
    • Jandakot Flight Centre
    • Formula Aviation
    • Casair
    • Rottnest Air Taxi
  • Adventure flights:
    • Fighter Combat International
    • Attitude Aerobatics
    • Catalina Adventures
    • Westcoast Jet Fighters
  • Aerial advertising banner towing:
    • Air-Ads
  • Numerous aircraft sales, maintenance and restoration organisations and privately-owned aircraft are also based there, including:
    • Aerojacks
    • Airflite
    • Corsaire
    • Elite Aerospace Coatings
    • Formula Aviation
    • Premiair
    • Swift Aviation Services.

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