Time flies, and so do we

During World War II, Bankstown Airport was established as a key strategic air base to support the war effort. Today, Bankstown Airport is Sydney’s primary general aviation airport, serving charter and cargo flights for various carriers.

Here we have a look back at the milestones spanning Bankstown Airport’s growth over the years.


June – Bankstown acquired as airfield site for Defence. Site preparations begin

December – Formal establishment of Bankstown Royal Australian Air Force station. Bankstown was on of 125 airfields in NSW, and 1 of 23 in the NSW region.


January – First aircraft arrived for assembly (Avro Ansons)

March – first aircraft assembled and first two hangars completed.

September – First Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) trained at Bankstown

September – wo more hangar and other facilities erected


February – United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) Headquarters Squadron and 7th Fighter Squadron 49th Pursuit Group arrive with their p-40 Kittyhawk Fighter aircraft. Bankstown quickly became known as “Yankstown”.

February – Establishment of Fighter Control Unit 1010 to co-ordinate fighter defence of Sydney.

April – USAAF 41th Fighter Squadron arrives with P-39 Airacobra Fighters

July – Re-establishment of RAAF 24th Squadron to defend Sydney

October – Completion of the American Hangar (building 114)


Construction of the de Havilland factory on the southern side of the airfield

Construction of the hospital

Continued development of the barracks accommodation area. These buildings were standard military barracks measuring 18.5m x 5.5m.

Construction of Hangars 131,271,272 and the Bellman Hangars 16 and 17


December – The first British Roayl Navy contingent reached Bankstown to establish Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Nabberley.


January – The Bankstown Bunker which was located to the north-east of the airfield (now the corner of Marion St and Edger Ave) was commissioned as headquarters for the Air Defence of Sydney

January – RAAF Bankstown was handed over to the British Royal Navy as HMS Nabberley

August – Victor in the Pacific (VP day) and HMS Nabberley was involved I the return of Prisoners of War from Japanese camps and the disposal of aircraft.


HMS Nabberley was closed and Bankstown was handed back to the RAAF

The Royal Aero Club arrived at Bankstown from Mascot


January – The de Havilland Drover flew for the first time at Bankstown

November – Bankstown Airport came under the control of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA)


January – the Bankstown Bunker ceased operations

June – the first flight of the de Havilland Vampire

1950  Floodlighting for the Air Traffic Control Tower

1952  First gravel runway constructed RUNWAY 11/29 (914m)

1956  Closure of migrant camps

1961  First Victa Airtourer flew. Aircraft was designed and built at Bankstown.

1962  3 runway directions (11/29 & 18/36 & 05/23)

1962  Second parallel runway in the 11/29 directions.

1962  Main runway upgraded to allow for Sea Venom jets to operate.

1965  Runway lights installed.

1970  Construction of current control tower.

1970  Bankstown was the largest general aviation airport in the southern hemisphere with over 250,000 aircraft movement per year.

1980  The Queen visited Bankstown Airport

1985  Access roads such as Miles, Link and Birch Roads were developed.

1987  First Blackhawk assembled in April and first flight of the PC9 RAAF trainer was in November.

1988  Federal Airports Corporation (FAC) took over Bankstown Airport.

1991  The Royal Aero Club ceased operations at Bankstown Airport

2000  The Sydney Olympic Torch visited Bankstown Airport.

2000  Widening of the northern taxiway (now known as TWY A)

2001  Bankstown Airport Limited (BAL) and Camden Airport Limited (CAL) separated from Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL)

2004  Bunnings was developed on Milperra Rd.

2006  Closure of RWY 18/36

2006  Construction of Nancy Ellis Leebold Dr and TOLL Priority building

2010  Runway Centre was re-sheeted

2013  Taxiways renamed and MAGS installed

2015  TOLL Ambulance building developed

2019  New POLAIR Facility development began