Putting the Fun Back in Flying

Avalon Airport

At Avalon Airport, the situation is very different. Specialising in domestic flights across Australia, Avalon Airport proudly serves Melbourne and Geelong, and has the location, services, and friendly staff necessary to truly make the entire flying experience easier and more pleasurable.

“We have a dedicated bus for each flight, so for every flight that comes in, a bus comes in to meet them,” says Justin Giddings, Chief Executive Officer at Avalon Airport Australia Pty Ltd. “It’s a very good service, and people can come in here, jump on a bus which will be waiting for them, and go to Melbourne or Geelong.”

For passengers who choose to drive, Avalon Airport is located just 55 kilometres from Melbourne’s central business district, a 40-minute, no-hassle, toll-free car ride along an uncongested highway with Geelong and The Great Ocean Road just minutes away. With other options available, such as airport shuttles and taxis, getting to and from Avalon Airport is convenient and stress-free. Secure parking is reasonable, located directly opposite both the Arrival and Departure terminals and – with 1,500 spaces available – there is no need to pre-book. No matter which option travellers choose, they will experience an airport where staff are friendly, and ease of access is key.

The site of the Australian International Airshow from 26 February to 3 March, Avalon Airport opened in 1953, and was for many years involved in the production of military aircraft before it was purchased from the Commonwealth by Linfox in early 1997. Recently, Avalon Airport was endorsed by the Commonwealth Government to become Victoria’s second international airport after Tullamarine Airport. Avalon, which handles regular flights for low-cost carrier Jetstar, had worked with now-grounded Tiger Airways, and is in talks with the carrier about coming back when services resume. With all levels of government in unison, Avalon’s future as the area’s second airport is in the works. Last October, Member for Corio, Richard Marles MP, announced the Australian Government will amend the lease at Avalon Airport, which will allow it to build a new international terminal. The move is a tremendous win for Avalon, its employees, the flying public, and local residents and businesses.

“The red tape around the MDP (Major Development Plan) process had been a major barrier,” said Mr Giddings at the time. “Under the old arrangements an airline would have to wait for Australian Government approval to build a terminal, and then wait for the terminal to be built before commencing international flights. With this decision, we can now get on with the job of securing an international carrier and building international passenger facilities with just a local building permit required. I estimate this decision has removed at least two years from the time we reach agreement with an airline to the time flights can commence. But more importantly, it has provided the security that the airlines require. The growth of air travel into Victoria is expected to continue into the future.”

With the area experiencing growth – and Avalon Airport being in a strategic position to meet future demand – the State Government of Victoria has pledged to put a rail link into the airport, with construction expected in the next two years. This rail link, once complete, will enable further ease of access to and from Avalon Airport.

Unlike some other airports which are rapidly running out of room for expansion, Avalon Airport is situated on a substantial 1,700 hectares of prime land. With only a portion presently being utilised, Avalon is positioned to offer unique business opportunities to airlines for heavy maintenance, advertises, retailers, and others. “We are very fortunate that we have a bay at one end of the runway, paddocks at the other, and we have heaps of room for expansion,” comments Mr Giddings. “That’s why people at the state government and the federal government are really backing us to be the second airport.”

Working with a Master Plan, Avalon Airport has its sights set on the future and new initiatives, such as a retail precinct, the direct rail link, new runways, new terminal locations, additional roads into the airport, business parks, airport expansion, an industrial estate, and an intermodal facility. These initiatives and others will make Avalon Airport a unique, accessible business district.

Accepting of interest from those wishing to become a part of the future of Avalon Airport, the organisation is open to retail opportunities, including the opening retail space within the current terminal, the future international terminal, or developing a business on the land surrounding the airport. “There is retail within the terminal precinct that we are looking to develop, including hotels, so certainly within five years we’d love to have a hotel here, and more retail,” says Mr Giddings of Avalon’s location, which is conveniently situated on the main freeway that runs between Melbourne and Geelong, an area ripe for a new retail precinct.

Additionally, Avalon Airport’s location, ease of access, and ability to accommodate up to 100 tonnes per movement make it ideal for freight operations year-round. Possessing international airport status – including ‘first port of entry’ rights for handling freight – the experienced freight ground handling team and flight operations crew handle all cargo with care and professionalism, and take on well-known freight operations such as the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix, V8 Supercars and Superbikes.

In terms of aircraft, Avalon boasts a Heavy Maintenance facility, operating on-site and comprising six hangars in total. Three are customised B747 hangars used by Qantas, which have been used by the airline since 1998, and are the site of commercial project work including cabin reconfigurations and refurbishment for Qantas Group aircraft. “The 747s can come in, no problem,” says Mr Giddings of the site, which has a length of 3,100 metres on the tarmac (around 10,000 feet), and is able to handle large aircraft. At present, Hangar 1 is available for lease. Insulated, heated, measuring 100 metres by 95 metres with a door height exceeding 10 metres, the hangar is ideal for a corporate jet, airside aviation facility, or a landside facility. With considerable parking nearby, Hangar 1 offers separate office spaces, storage areas, and washroom and shower facilities, making it ideal for businesses wishing to be near to Melbourne’s CBD and Geelong.

Realising that many users of Avalon’s facilities are families and business travellers, the airport has accommodations to make flying with kids as easy as possible, including well-equipped baby change rooms and strollers at the Jetstar check-in area. A free Kid Zone area is not only fun for children, but has comfortable seating where parents can feed their newborns.

Food and drink has become a large part of the travel experience, and Avalon Airport caters to both children and adults with a wide variety of food and beverage options, including a special menu for kids, ‘Grab and Go’ food, an extensive hot meal menu, beverage and snack machines throughout the terminal, and a fully licensed bar within the Departures Terminal. Along with games machines, televisions, a gift shop and massage chairs, there is plenty to keep everyone entertained and informed. For those who want to remain connected, wireless internet services and printing facilities are available for a small fee.

For Avalon, soon to be Victoria’s second airport, the future is bright. Located in one of the fastest-growing areas in Australia, Avalon is in the perfect location for growth. “In the next five years, I’d love to see the airport have at least two domestic users, Tiger and Jetstar,” says Mr Giddings. “I think that we should be seeing around 2.5 million passengers per annum domestically, and I’d love to see an international carrier or two operating out of the airport, having a daily service to Asia and a daily service to New Zealand. And of course we’d have the airshow continuing, and have the hangars full as well.”

Making Sense of Management

Management is the art, or science, of getting things done through people. Sounds fairly straightforward – except for the fact that people are not robots waiting to do our bidding. People have their own minds, motivations, and goals. So how do managers keep operations – and the people behind them – running as planned?

December 19, 2018, 9:22 AM AEDT