A selection of my photographs at Cairns International Airport during the 1990s

Cairns Airport June 1991 showing the main Runway 15/33, shorter sealed light aircraft runway 12/30 (since closed) and the outline of a
decommissioned wartime runway.
The domestic airline terminal is to the left, GA parking and original hangars in the centre of this view.

February 1990, Ansett Airlines' leased Boeing 737 G-PATE lands on RWY 33. Behind is the new airline terminal opened in 1984 on
reclaimed mangrove
swamp on the seawards side of the airport. A new ATC centre and Control Tower is under construction.

This 1992 view shows the newly-constructed International Terminal a short stroll from the domestic terminal (centre right).
Photo courtesy Civil Aviation Historical Society collection

The airport is operated by the Cairns Port Authority which enjoyed a strong bond with the Far North Queensland community. 
To recognise the
area's aviation history, this Bush Pilots Airways DC-3 memorial was erected at the new domestic terminal building.

The brave new world of hand-wringing OH&S put an end to the monument, declaring it unsafe and having it removed and chopped up.

View from the old Tower on the original side of the airport along the Cook Highway February 1990. Resident BAC-111 PK-PJQ is towed
from the
hangar after maintenance, passing Flight West Airlines aircraft at their terminal.

Cairns Airport resident aircraft during the 1990s including John Jones' Grumman G-44A Widgeon VH-WET operated as Coral Wings.
As well as delivering supplies to the prawn trawler fleet along Cape York, the amphibian flew charters to New Guinea.

VH-WET in October 1990, freshly repainted from its former Sea Bee Air (NZ) scheme. It was sold to Rabaul in 1994.

Cairns Tiger Moth Scenic Flights operated DH.82 Tiger Moths on tourist flights on a choice of routes, with or without aerobatics.
Because they used sealed runways and taxiways, the Tigers had the tailwheel modification with raked-forward undercarriage..
Because there was no alternate airfield, Tiger Moths and aero club training was handled among the heavy jets.

1990s Cairns was the last Australian bastion of freighter DC-3s, with DC-3 Qeensland carrying cargo to remote towns, particularly
when inland
roads were cut each year durung The Wet

Cairns was a Coastwatch base, operated by Skywest Airlines, Perth using a large fleet of Aero Commanders.  VH-ACL February 1990

Someone at Customs gained his KPIs by rebadging Coastwatch as Customs, with the essential repainting of the entire fleet, reprinting of
every document, new signs on buildings. Good move Minister. Aero Commander 500S Shrike VH-EXF in October 1993

Australian built GAF Nomad Searchmaster VH-CEI with chin radome, photographed in September 1993.

Queensland Police based Cessna 208A Caravan VH-PSQ at Cairns for transport to Far North Queensland communities

Cairns is a Royal Flying Doctor Service base. Resident Beech 65-80 Queen Air VH-FDS seen in January 1990

RFDS Queen Air 80s were being replaced with Beech 200 King Airs. 200C model VH-FDB seen at Cairns in February 1990

Cairns was end-of-the-line for the nightly parcel express delivery runs as far south as Sydney. These aircraft arrived at dawn and spent
spent the day at Cairns often having routine maintenance. Security Express Swearingen Metro VH-UZY has an engine run in June 1990.

Security Express Swearingen Metro VH-UZW at Cairns in May 1996

Eastern Pacific Metro VH-EPQ rests during the day in February 1990

Other turboprop freighters were anonymous, like Metro VH-WGV seen in July 1997, which operated a regular nightly run south.

TNT Air Express operated Israeli Aircraft Industres 1124 Westwind freighters. VH-AJQ seen in June 1990

Australia Post Express Courier Cessna 550 Citation VH-TFQ in June 1993

DHC-7 Dash 7 VH-UUM, seen in May 1996 was operated by JetCraft on daily FIFO flights from Cairns to the Kidstone goldmine.

Cairns' geographic location made it a convenient stop for ferry flights. An example was this BN-2A Islander B-12222 being delivered
from Taiwan, ex Formosa Airlines, to New Guinea in May 1996. A few weeks later it was repainted as P2-MCA and departed.

Dornier 228 VH-URU ferried via Cairns to Honiara  in July 1996 on delivery to Trans Pacific Airlines

Three Kamov KA-36s CCCP-31029,-31031,-31036 appeared overnight at Cairns on 28 July 1991, shipped from Papua New Guinea
following lease by Hevilift PNG. CCCP-31031 & 31036 were made operational at Cairns and repainted before all three moved on.

US helicopter operator Carson Helicopters Sikorsky S-61N N4240S was stored at Cairns in January 1990 between local contracts.

Typical General Aviation ferries were three Cessna 402Cs formerly with Air North at Darwin, which had auxiliary fuel tanks installed at
Cairns in July 1991 for the ferry to USA by Southern Cross Aviation. VH-UCE, UCL,-TFD became N372R,
N373R, N374R respectively.

Because of Cairns' geographic location, Papua New Guinea aircraft were regular visitors. Air Manudada PA-31 P2-BDL in April 1993.

Beech King Air 200 P2-VIC photographed in July 1993 was a regular Cairns visitor during the decade.


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