February 28, 2021

Tasmania’s first airport turns 90

Today Launceston Airport, the first Government aerodrome in the state, celebrates its 90th birthday.  

 On this day back in 1931, 15,000 people flocked to the airport to view one of Tasmania’s first air pageants, more than half of the city’s population at the time.  
 
Onlookers stopped traffic along Evandale Road as they watched RAAF Wapiti Fighters and Gipsy Moths conduct aerobatic displays, while Controller of Civil Aviation, (Lieutenant Colonel, H. C. Brinsmead, O.B.E., M.C.), officially pronounced the aerodrome, open. 
 
In the airport’s inaugural year, Australian National Airways flew locals to Essendon six days a week, and occasionally flights serviced Brighton.  
 
The airline ceased operations in July 1931, and around eight months later Lawrence Johnson launched passenger flights to Flinders Island using “Miss Flinders” – a Desoutter Mark II monoplane.  
 
In a nod to the airport’s history, Miss Flinders will be unveiled today inside Launceston Airport’s Departures Hall.  
 
As part of the birthday celebrations travellers will be treated to live music and a number of local hospitality venues and suppliers will be providing complimentary food and wine tastings.  
 
Launceston Airport CEO Hans van Pelt said he looks forward to commemorating the occasion with the airport community. 
 
“The airport’s 90th birthday is a significant milestone, and the unveiling of Miss Flinders represents our past and pays tribute to our years of connecting Tasmanians to the mainland,” said Mr van Pelt. 
 
“We’ve certainly come a long way over the decades. In our inaugural year there were just six flights a week and when there’s no travel restrictions we offer travellers up to 400 weekly flights to five non-stop destinations. 
 
“Tasmania has an undeniable domestic tourism pull which has underpinned our growth over recent years. Although we’re experiencing a quiet period due to COVID related restrictions, we are hopeful traffic will increase towards Easter as traveller confidence returns.”