Snake Bay Airport

Snake Bay Airport (IATA: SNB, ICAO: YSNB) is located at Milikapiti, Northern Territory on the northern coast of Melville Island, Australia.

Snake Bay Airport
Airport typePublic
OperatorTiwi Island Regional Council
ServesMelville Island, Australia
LocationMilikapiti, Northern Territory
Elevation AMSL173 ft / 53 m
Coordinates11°25′22″S 130°39′13″E
Location in the Northern Territory
Direction Length Surface
m ft
13/31 1,440 4,724 Asphalt
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[1]


World War II

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) built the airfield as a forward fighter aerodrome, during World War II as part of the proposed strategic amphibious operations by Allied forces against the Tanimbar Islands and Kai Islands. It was proposed to accommodate a RAAF Fighter Wing and a United States Army Air Forces Fighter Group.

Construction was started on 7 July 1944, by No. 9 Mobile Works Unit RAAF with the help of 40 Aborigines. The airfield was operational on 30 August 1944. Two side by side runways 1,829 m (6,001 ft) long were constructed.[2]

The airfield was never fully utilized as the proposed amphibious operations were canceled and replaced with the New Guinea campaign. The airfield was known as Austin Strip and RAAF Melville Island.

Units based at Austin Strip

  • No. 6 Communications Unit RAAF
  • No. 9 Mobile Works Unit RAAF

Airlines and destinations

Air Ngukurr Darwin
Fly Tiwi Darwin, Pularumpi

See also


  1. YSNB – Snake Bay (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 15 August 2019, Aeronautical Chart Archived 10 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. OzatWar website
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