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Melbourne Airport

Melbourne Airport (IATA: MEL, ICAO: YMML), colloquially known as Tullamarine Airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne, and the second busiest airport in Australia.

Details

  • Area:27.041 km2
  • Elevation:131 m
  • Population:104
  • Local Government Area:Hume City Council

Description

Melbourne Airport (IATA: MEL, ICAO: YMML), colloquially known as Tullamarine Airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne, and the second busiest airport in Australia. It opened in 1970 to replace the nearby Essendon Airport. Melbourne Airport is the main international airport of the four airports serving the Melbourne metropolitan area, the other international airport being Avalon Airport. The airport comprises four terminals: one international terminal, two domestic terminals and one budget domestic terminal. It is 23 kilometres (14 miles) northwest of the city centre, adjacent to the suburb of Tullamarine. The airport has its own suburb and postcode—Melbourne Airport, Victoria.In 2016–17 around 25 million domestic passengers and 10 million international passengers used the airport. The Melbourne–Sydney air route is the third most-travelled passenger air route in the world. The airport features direct flights to 33 domestic destinations and to destinations in the Pacific, Europe, Asia, North America and South America. Melbourne Airport is the number one arrival/departure point for the airports of four of Australia's seven other capital cities. Melbourne serves as a major hub for Qantas and Virgin Australia, while Jetstar utilises the airport as home base. Domestically, Melbourne serves as headquarters for Australian airExpress and Toll Priority and handles more domestic freight than any other airport in the nation. # History ## Establishment Before the opening of Melbourne Airport, Melbourne's main airport was Essendon Airport, which was officially designated an international airport in 1950. In the mid-1950s, over 10,000 passengers were using Essendon Airport, and its limitations were beginning to become apparent. Essendon's facilities were insufficient to meet the increasing demand for air travel; the runways were too short to handle jets, and the terminals failed to handle the increase in passengers. By the mid-1950s, an international overflow terminal was built in a new northern hangar. The airport could not be expanded, as it had become surrounded by residential districts. The search for a replacement for Essendon commenced in February 1958, when a panel was appointed to assess Melbourne's civil aviation needs. Alternative sites considered were Tullamarine (12 miles from Melbourne), Whittlesea (18 miles), Hastings (40 miles), Port Melbourne (3 miles), Werribee (25 miles), Laverton (16 miles), Avalon (35 miles) and Moorabbin (14 miles). Considerations such as superior proximity to Melbourne and lower development costs narrowed the choice to either Tullamarine or Laverton, with Laverton eventually eliminated in part due to issues coordinating both military and civil activities that could not guarantee the degree of safety demanded, and that traffic coordination would be easier with the shorter distance between Essendon and Tullamarine.In 1959, the Commonwealth Government acquired 5,300 ha (13,000 acres) of grassland in then-rural Tullamarine.In May 1959 it was announced that a new airport would be built at Tullamarine, with Prime Minister Robert Menzies announcing on 27 November 1962 a five-year plan to provide Melbourne with a A$45 million "jetport" by 1967. The first sod at Tullamarine was turned two years later in November 1964. In line with the five-year plan, the runways at Essendon were expanded to handle larger aircraft, with Ansett Australia launching the Boeing 727 there in October 1964, the first jet aircraft used for domestic air travel in Australia.On 1 July 1970, Prime Minister John Gorton opened Melbourne Airport to international operations ending Essendon's near two decade run as Melbourne's international airport. Essendon still was home to domestic flights for one year, until they transferred to Melbourne Airport on 26 June 1971, with the first arrival of a Boeing 747 occurring later that year. In the first year of operations, Melbourne handled six international airlines and 155,275 international passengers.Melbourne Airport was originally called 'Melbourne International Airport'. It is at Tullamarine, a name derived from the indigenous name Tullamareena. Locally, the airport is commonly referred to as Tullamarine or simply as Tulla to distinguish the airport from the other three Melbourne airports: Avalon, Essendon and Moorabbin.On opening, Melbourne Airport consisted of three connected terminals: International in the centre, with Ansett to the South and Trans Australia Airlines to the North. The design capacity of the airport was eight Boeing 707s at a rate of 500 passengers per hour, with minor expansion works completed in 1973 allowing Boeing 747s to serve the airport. By the late 1980s peak passenger flows at the airport had reached 900 per hour, causing major congestion.In late 1989, Federal Airports Corporation Inspector A. Rohead was put in charge of a bicentennial project to rename streets in Melbourne Airport to honour the original inhabitants, European pioneers and aviation history. Information on the first two categories was provided by Ian Hunter, Wurundjeri researcher, and Ray Gibb, local historian. The project was completed but was shelved, with the only suggested name, Gowrie Park Drive, being allocated, named after the farm at the heart of the airport. During the 1920s, the farm had been used as a landing site for aircraft, which were parked at night during World War II in case Essendon Aerodrome was bombed. ## Expansion and privatisation In 1988, the Australian Government formed the Federal Airports Corporation (FAC), placing Melbourne Airport under the operational control of the new corporation along with 21 other airports around the nation.The FAC undertook a number of upgrades at the airport. The first major upgrades were carried out at the domestic terminals, with an expansion of the Ansett domestic terminal approved in 1989 and completed in 1991, adding a second pier for use by smaller regional airlines. Work on an upgrade of the international terminal commenced in 1991, with the 'SkyPlaza' retail complex completed in late 1993 on a site flanking the main international departure gates. The rest of the work was completed in 1995, when the new three-level satellite concourse was opened at the end of the existing concourse. Diamond shaped and measuring 80 m (260 ft) on each side, the additional 10 aerobridges provided by the expansion doubled the international passenger handing capacity at Melbourne Airport.In April 1994, the Australian Government announced that all airports operated by FAC would be privatized in several phases. Melbourne Airport was included in the first phase, being acquired by the newly formed Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Limited for $1.3 billion. The transfer was completed on 30 June 1997 on a 50-year long-term lease, with the option for a further 49 years. Melbourne Airport is categorized as a Leased Commonwealth Airport.Since privatization, further improvements to infrastructure have begun at the airport, including expansion of runways, car parks and terminals. The multi-storey carpark outside the terminal was completed between 1995 and August 1997 at a cost of $49 million, providing 3,100 parking spaces, the majority undercover. This initially four-level structure replaced the previous open air carpark outside the terminal. Work commenced on the six-story 276-room Hilton Hotel (now Parkroyal) above the carpark in January 1999, which was completed in mid-2000 at a cost of $55 million. Expansion of the Qantas domestic terminal was completed in 1999, featuring a second pier and 9 additional aircraft stands.In December 2000, a fourth passenger terminal opened: the Domestic Express Terminal, located to the south of the main terminal building at a cost of $9 million. It was the first passenger terminal facility to be built at Melbourne Airport since 1971.Expansion of carparks has also continued with a $40 million project commenced in 2004, doubling the size of the short term carpark with the addition of 2,500 spaces over six levels, along with 1,200 new spaces added to the 5,000 already available in the long term carpark. Revenue from retail operations at Melbourne Airport broke the $100 million mark for the first time in 2004, this being a 100 per cent increase in revenue since the first year of privatization.In 2005, the airport undertook construction works to prepare the airport for the arrival of the double-decker Airbus A380. The main work was the widening of the main north–south runway by 15 m (49 ft), which was completed over a 29-day period in May 2005. The improvements also included the construction of dual airbridges (Gates 9 and 11) with the ability to board both decks simultaneously to reduce turnaround times, the extension of the international terminal building by 20 m (66 ft) to include new penthouse airline lounges, and the construction of an additional baggage carousel in the arrivals hall. As a result, the airport was the first in Australia to be capable of handling the A380. The A380 made its first test flight into the airport on 14 November 2005. On 15 May 2008, the A380 made its first passenger flight into the airport when a Singapore Airlines Sydney-bound flight was diverted from Sydney Airport because of fog. Beginning services in October 2008, Qantas was the first airline to operate the A380 from the airport, flying nonstop to Los Angeles International Airport twice a week. This was the inaugural route for the Qantas A380.In March 2006, the airport undertook a 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft) expansion of Terminal 2, and the construction of an additional level of airline lounges above the terminal. In 2008 a further 25,000 m2 (270,000 sq ft) expansion of Terminal 2 commenced, costing $330 million with completion in 2011. The works added 5 additional aerobridges on a new passenger concourse, and a new 5,000 m2 (54,000 sq ft) outbound passenger security and customs processing zone.In 2017, Melbourne Airport international passenger movements exceeded 10 million annual travelers. # Weather # Things to do

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