In early 1942, the area on which Perth Airport is now located was converted from the Dunreath golf course to an RAAF base, which operated until the end of World War II in 1945.
In 1943, the first runway was built by Western Australia’s Main Roads Department for RAAF fighters, with a second strip being laid down a year later. In 1944, the Government agreed to allow Australian National Airways Pty Ltd (ANA) and Qantas to operate from this site in Guildford, as Maylands had become inadequate for their larger commercial aircraft.
Guildford Aerodrome officially changed its status and name to Perth Airport in September 1952. In March 1953, the then new international terminal was completed at a cost of AU$180,000, being built from second-hand wartime materials. The main domestic airlines moved out of their separate hangars in 1962 and into the first combined Domestic and International Terminal.
In November 1980, the Federal Transport Minister, Ralph Hunt, announced a new international terminal would be built in Perth. On 25 October 1986, Prime Minister Bob Hawke unveiled the A$60 million International Terminal on the eastern side of the airport, complete with a new control tower.
The Federal Airports Corporation (FAC) was formed in 1988 to manage the larger Australian airports as self-funding commercial entities. FAC implemented a major enhancement of retail outlets at the International Terminal and oversaw the redevelopment of the Domestic Terminal facilities by Ansett and Australian Airlines.
In July 1997, Perth Airport Pty Ltd took up a 99-year leasehold interest over Perth Airport as part of the first phase in the privatisation of airports in Australia, and has since operated the airport and its 2,105 hectare estate.