Archerfield Airport, General Manager, Heather Mattes, Brisbane
General Manager, Heather Mattes

You may have driven past it once or twice, but do you know the exciting history behind Archerfield Airport and how far it has actually come?

We spoke to General Manager, Heather Mattes to find out more about the Airport and its historical feats.

Heather, who is a pilot and a former National President of the Australian Women Pilots Association, was appointed General Manager of Archerfield Airport in January 2015.

“I have a lot of experience in general aviation as well as property, construction, asset management and operations, including four years as Manager of Landside Transport and Assets for Brisbane Airport Corporation, Manager of Projects and Development at Sydney Ports Corporation, and Head of Property – Australia for Ansett,” she says.

“Using this experience to manage an airport presented a new challenge for me. Archerfield Airport has a significant place in history and general aviation in Queensland, and part of my role is as custodian of this wonderful airport.”

Heather says the Airport, which was established in the early 1930s, was Brisbane’s original city airport, so it has a very rich, colourful history.

“For instance, the igloo-shaped Hangar 5 which is a landmark along Beatty Road, made history in 1931 as the Qantas departure point for the first passenger-carrying flights to England,” she says.

And “in 1933, Lores Bonney made her historic 20,000km solo flight to England from Archerfield Airport – she was the first woman to achieve this feat.”

Heather says the airport was also a key military airfield for Australian, American and Dutch forces involved in the Pacific Campaign of World War Two.

“Archerfield Airport is very proud of its history. The restored art deco-style terminal building is one of Australia’s most recognisable aviation landmarks, and God’s Acre pioneer cemetery, which was part of the grazing property before the airport was built, is one of only a handful of graveyards within an Australian airport.”

With such a diverse and exciting history, it’s safe to say Archerfield Airport holds a great significance in the local community.

Heather says the airport is a local landmark, supporting a thriving commercial community built on aviation and aviation-related services.

“When Archerfield Airport was established, there were no houses or factories within sight, so the suburb and commercial area of Archerfield have grown up around the airport over the years,” she says.

“The airport plays a vital role in the economic well-being of its community, including generating employment opportunities.”

Heather says Archerfield Airport now carries the largest number of general aviation movements of any Queensland airport, and is the State’s centre for flight training.

“We have built numerous facilities such as the Corporate Hangar complex and the Aviation Student Accommodation and Training Complex for Basair; we also have seen older facilities rejuvenated, such as Hangar 5 which is home to Archerfield Jet Base and some amazing jets and Hangar 6 home to LifeFlight Heavy Maintenance. Archerfield Airport Corporation is continually expanding airport capabilities and the airport itself with aeromedical and emergency services, fixed base operations and maintenance facilities.”

“There is no doubt that the airport will continue to develop; and Archerfield Airport Corporation will continue to work with the local community to guide this growth.”

For more information about Archerfield Airport visit

Resa Zekants
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