Avalon Airport is situated in Avalon, Victoria, 55km south-west of Melbourne, Australia. It is the second-busiest airport serving Melbourne and is the only low-cost airport in Victoria.
The airport opened in 1953 to serve military aircraft. During 1960-80, the airport acted as a hub for many defence projects including the Mirage, Avro Lincoln, FA 18 and Blackhawk Helicopters. Hazelton Airlines launched the first passenger flight from the airport in February 1995.
Avalon Airport was originally owned by the Commonwealth Government, but was sold to Linfox in 1997. Initially the airport employed 150 people. When it was privatised, nearly 1,300 people were employed.
Airlines currently operating at the airport include Jet Star Airways, Sharp Airlines and Tiger Airways Australia.
Linfox is upgrading and expanding the airport facilities to serve increasing passenger traffic and introduce international flights.
The proposed plan will expand Avalon Airport’s existing terminals and build a new international terminal. Upgrading the domestic terminals will cost an estimated $4m. A departure gate, retail outlets, arrival hall and extra lounge seating will be introduced. An area of about 8,000m2 will accommodate customs, immigration, quarantine and retail facilities.
In 2009 flight information display systems were installed in the domestic terminals. The contract to supply and install the systems was awarded to InterSystems.
Upgrades to tarmac, roads, terminal and fuel facilities are being carried out, with $A11m allotted for these development works.
In July 2010, the Victoria Government granted $2m to expand the apron and taxi rank for increased aircraft movements.
The new international terminal will be built in an area of 7,500m2 east of the domestic terminals. The international terminal will have an entrance foyer, security screening, quarantine, customs, departure lounges and retail outlets. The terminal will also include three check-in counters. The airport will handle international flights when the terminal is completed in 2011.
Avalon Airport has two domestic terminals, located side by side, one for departures and the other for arrivals. The flight information data screens installed in the terminals provide detailed flight information to passengers.
Both terminals offer facilities such as ATMs, public telephones and baby changing rooms. Smoking areas are located outside the terminal buildings.
The departure terminal features baggage weighing systems and eateries. Wi-Fi is accessible throughout the terminal. The arrival terminal contains facilities for car rentals, oversized baggage, trolleys and transport information desks.
The airport has a single runway, designated 18/36, which was built by the Country Roads Board. The runway is 3,048m long and has an asphalt surface. The first plane landed there on 3 April 1953.
Avalon Airport’s air control tower was built in 1977. The 14m clad structure is a similar design to the ATC towers of Adelaide, Moorabbin and Albury airports.
Secure car parks are available opposite the departure and arrival terminals, and contain 1,500 parking spaces. The parking facilities are close to the terminals and provide short and long-term parking.
Automatic car park pay stations can be found within the arrival and departure terminals. Disabled customers can use specific reserved parking spaces if they show a disability card.
There are numerous car, taxi and bus services operating to and from airport. Scheduled shuttles serve all the arrival and departure points. The department of transport is planning to build a new rail link directly to the airport to provide passengers an easy means of transport. Government has sanctioned $3m for this project and it is expected to start by 2013.
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