Avalon Airport has commenced international operations, having received tremendous support from both the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments. Now, the airport aims to further expand both its domestic and international passenger operations, and also freight operations, providing a significant economic boost to the G21 region.
Avalon Airport’s geographic location between Melbourne and Geelong makes it both a capital city airport and an exceptionally well-equipped regional airport, servicing a large catchment in western Victoria and providing connections to significant tourism destinations such as Geelong, the Bellarine and the Great Ocean Road.
Growth in domestic passenger numbers throughout Australia has been strong over the past decade, and Tourism Research Australia forecasts a steady increase (1 per cent annually) that will continue over the coming decade. Avalon has experienced strong domestic growth over the past four years, with passenger numbers 66% higher than they were in 2014. The continued growth of the G21 and Wyndham regions, as well as the successful transformation of the Geelong CBD will continue to boost growth.
International visitation forecasts also indicate a healthy outlook for the aviation industry in the coming decade.
This highlights Avalon Airport’s expansion opportunities. As a major tourism destination within Australia, the G21 region requires convenient access via a fully functioning Avalon Airport for domestic and international travellers. They, in turn, will provide a valuable boost to regional tourism and the economy.
Jetstar has committed to operate from Avalon Airport, with an agreement that will see passenger services expand over coming years. As part of the agreement, Jetstar currently operates seven services per day and fly to four destinations.
This marks a strong partnership that will secure the future of Avalon Airport and its workers for the next decade.
International carrier AirAsia X launched twice daily services from Avalon to Kuala Lumpur in late 2018. To accommodate this Avalon constructed a new $50 million, 7,000m2 terminal. This new terminal accommodates Australian Border Force and Quarantine staff.
Avalon Airport is also seeking government support to improve transport links to Avalon Airport. This includes expanded bus services and to be included in any rail improvements currently being planned between Geelong and Melbourne.
There are further opportunities for the expansion of Avalon Airport including:
- Freight services – Air Asia will carry around 1,000 tonnes of freight in their first year. This is an enormous opportunity for local producers seeking to export into Asia.
- Engineering and maintenance – Avalon Airport can accommodate large heavy-maintenance facilities and infrastructure.
- Retail/commercial services - including hotel, rail link, service station, industrial activities, commercial offices and retail facilities.
- Australian International Airshow – attracting around 200,000 visitors, the airshow could be levereged to attract industry to the region.
The airport is privately owned and operates as a commercial venture. The Avalon Airport international terminal and other retail/commercial services are budgeted and accounted for through private investment.
To support the expansion of domestic services from Avalon Airport
This will require assistance from both federal and state governments.
The State Government provides incentives for airlines to base aircraft in Victoria. However, this assistance needs to be increased to encourage airlines to better utilise Avalon Airport as Victoria’s second international airport.
The Federal Government and its fully owned aviation organisations such as Airservices Australia, should work to ensure Avalon Airport is provided with a fair platform to compete for domestic services. This includes ensuring pricing for services such as air traffic control, firefighting services and policing does not adversely impact Avalon Airport.
To support expansion of Avalon Airport as an international passenger airport
This will require both federal and state government assistance.
The State Government provides incentives for international airlines to operate in Victoria. Continued marketing assistance is required to consolidate Avalon as an international port.
Airservices Australia (Airservices) provides Air Traffic Control and Rescue and Fire Fighting Services to Avalon Airport. Airservices is a Commonwealth owned organisation under direction from the Minister for Transport. Avalon Airport should be treated fairly and not charged for services at a rate greater than those charged at Tullamarine Airport. A review of pricing is expected in the next 12 months.
The addition of a rail link to Avalon Airport, connecting with Melbourne and Geelong, will be important to service future domestic and international passenger growth.
The airport also has a large retail and commercial precinct which has the potential to drive regional employment.
Justin Giddings, Chief Executive Officer, Avalon Airport
What has been committed
The Federal Government has committed:
- provided $20 million towards the construction of Avalon Airport’s international terminal
- approved a variation of the airport lease which fast tracked delivery of the international terminal
- re-classified Avalon Airport to make it eligible for benefits associated under the current Regional Airport Package
- approved the Avalon Airport Master Plan
- approved operation as an international airport
- established border agencies.
The State Government has committed:
- $12 million to ensure Jetstar continues and expands passenger services operations at Avalon Airport
- $2.7 million to progress development of an Airport Precinct Master Plan
- $1.2 million to assist in development of a 40-hectare industrial precinct
- funding to construct the international terminal
- to support Avalon Airport as the host of the Australian International Airshow until 2025
- to support the development of Geelong as an international aerospace, defence, aviation and engineering hub.
What is required
A Federal and State Government commitment to:
- improve access to Avalon from Melbourne, Geelong and regional areas, initially by approving new bus services, and eventually including Avalon Airport as part of a rail solution.
A Federal Government commitment to:
- standardise Airservices’ charges and services so they are equal to the rates charged and services provided at Tullamarine
- continue support to expand border agencies in line with airport growth
- support the continuation of the Australian International Airshow beyond 2025.
A State Government commitment to:
- assist in the realisation of the commercial/retail precinct
- provide continued marketing support to attract further airlines to the area utilising Avalon Airport’s services
- include Avalon Airport in any rail link upgrades to Geelong.
A commitment by State and Federal governments to embed GROW training, employment and procurement principles in all government projects within the region.
Flights & Services at Avalon Airport:
For information about flights and services go to the airport website - AvalonAirport.com.au