The humble beginnings of Cairns Airport extend back to
1928 when a Mr Tom McDonald operated a Gipsy Moth
aircraft from a sand strip in the location of the
Cairns Airport Meteorological Office was first
established in 1941 during the Second World War as a
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Meteorological Office
and was home to many Australian and American war planes
during the hostilities.
The original Bureau building was a small low set wooden
structure located just beside the tarmac parking area
and housed RAAF Meteorological Officers and Radio
Operators who were later reclassified as Flight Service
In the early 1960's the Met Office moved into a DCA two
storey Operations Building, housing Flight Service and
Air Traffic Controllers. This was to remain the Pilot
Briefing Area up until the early 1990's.
The Saddle Mountain Radar which provides weather watch
coverage for Cairns and the surrounding area was
installed in 1962. It has received several upgrades
since then, the last being in 1992.
Cairns officially becoming an International Airport in
In 1991 Flight services was disbanded and the tower
complex (ATC) moved to the eastern side of the runway
complex. The Met office was relocated to our current
position (General Aviation), about 700m north of the
old site in 1992.
The role of the office has changed considerably over
the years. From its initial conception as a Pilot
Briefing Office, to today servicing not only the
Aviation Community in North Queensland but the wider
Public and Boating communities as well.
Today Cairns office has a staff of 12, consisting of
Forecasters, Observers and Technicians.