The Federal Airports Corporation (FAC) was a business enterprise of the Government of Australia responsible for the operation of major passenger airports in Australia. It was established by the Hawke Labor Government by an Act of Parliament in 1987 and commenced operation in January 1988.
Discussion of the privatisation of airport operation in Australia commenced in the early 1990s. In April 1994, the Keating Labor Government announced that all airports operated by FAC would be privatised in several phases. Melbourne Airport, for example, was to be included in the first phase. A firm decision was made in 1996 by the Howard Coalition Government that each airport would be leased to an individual operator for 50 years, with an option for a 49-year extension. Airport divestment was initiated in 1997 with the leasing of Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth Airports, followed by Adelaide, Canberra and Gold Coast Airports, the remaining smaller airports in 1998, Sydney Airport in 2002, and the Sydney Basin Airports of Bankstown, Camden and Hoxton Park in 2003.
At the beginning of 1997 the FAC operated 22 airports and handled over 60 million passenger annually. Melbourne Airport was leased to a newly formed Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Limited for A$1.307 billion, with the transfer being completed on 30 June 1997. Brisbane Airport was lease for $1.4 billion to Brisbane Airport Corporation. Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Limited also obtained a 90% stake in Launceston Airport for A$18.8 million on 29 May 1998, with the Launceston City Council owning the remaining 10%. Perth Airport was leased to Westralia Airports Corporation Pty Ltd (now Perth Airport Pty Limited) in 1997.
By 30 June 1998 all significant assets and liabilities of the FAC were transferred to the new airport lessee companies. The FAC continued airport operations until 24 September 1998 and the transfer of residual assets and liabilities to the Commonwealth of Australia was not completed until 8 September 1999. Sydney Airport Corporation acquired the lease for Sydney Airport in 2002.
At present, the primary responsibility of the Airports Branch of the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is the regulation of 21 leased federal airports on Commonwealth land. The Branch administers the Airports Act 1996, its associated regulations and the airport head leases.
- Kiel, EE (September 1991). The Federal Airports Corporation: The Infrastructure Challenge. 1991 International Transport Conference: Transport Shaping Australia - Issues and Opportunities; Preprints of Papers. search.informit.com.au. ISBN 0-85825-522-7. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
- Frost & Sullivan (25 April 2006). "Airport Privatisation". MarketResearch.com. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
- Anne Graham (2003). Managing Airports. Butterworth-Heinemann. pp. 31–34. ISBN 0-7506-5917-3. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
- Airport Privatisation in Australia : A Tale of Three Cities
- "1997–1998 Annual Report" (PDF). Melbourne Airport. 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 August 2011.
- Jim Eames (1998). Reshaping Australia's Aviation Landscape: The Federal Airports Corporation 1986–1998. Focus Publishing. p. 123. ISBN 1-875359-47-8.
- "1997–1998 Annual Report" (PDF). Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Limited. 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 July 2008.
- "Airports". Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government: Annual Report 1998-1999. infrastructure.gov.au. Retrieved 27 September 2008.
- Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development: Airports
- Eades, Jim. (1998) Reshaping Australia's Aviation Landscape: The Federal Airports Corporation 1986–1998. Focus Publishing.