Victoria gets second international airport

Victoria gets second international airport

9 February 2018

Avalon Airport, located near Geelong, is set to become Victoria’s second international airport, with flights expected to start by the end of the year, reports ABC News.

AirAsia has confirmed it will operate twice-daily flights as the first international carrier at the airport, making long-haul flying affordable for Melbourne and the Victorian region, and improving access to more than 130 destinations in Asia and beyond.

The project was announced at an industry event at Avalon Airport attended by federal and local politicians and prominent business leaders.

The project will see up to 500,000 passengers pass through the curfew-free airport every year, opening up Geelong and the Great Ocean Road to more international visitors.

Located 15 kilometres north-east of Geelong and 50 kilometres south-west of Melbourne, the airport will need a new international terminal and secure immigration facilities to house quarantine and Border Force agencies.

The new terminal will also be capable of exporting 14 tonnes of Victorian fresh produce every day.

The Victorian and federal governments are expected to help fund the necessary infrastructure and services at the airport, which is owned by the logistics giant Linfox, says the SMH.

The Federal Government approved changes to Avalon’s lease agreement in 2012, allowing it to build an international terminal. It also approved the construction of additional runways and unrestricted access to international carriers.

Subsequent deals to establish international flights to the airport with carriers from China and the Philippines fell through, as did plans for a proposed rail link to the airport.

The new airport is a boon for the town of Geelong, which has been hard hit in recent years by the closure of several car manufacturing plants.

More than 200 jobs will be created at the airport, giving retrenched auto workers new career opportunities, Victorian Employment Minister Ben Carroll said.

“You’ll see in construction, 33 jobs, but above and beyond that, most importantly, there are going to be 200 jobs ongoing,” he said.

“They’re going to be former workers who worked at Toyota, the Ford factory and the Holden factory [who will] get a chance here at Avalon.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said the move enhanced Australia’s connections with south-east Asia.

“The more we can connect with Asia and south-east Asia, which will be the biggest middle-class population in the world, the better it is for economic development and jobs here in Australia,” she said.

Local Liberal MP Sarah Henderson said it was a game changer for the region to have an international terminal opening up the area to the world.

“We have great aspirations for an Avalon railway station, a rail link straight to the door. So there are very, very big plans for this region,” she said.

Image: ABC News