The name change to Essendon Fields Airport reflects the fact that aviation is at the heart of Essendon Fields. Essendon Fields is one of the major employment precincts in Melbourne’s North-West with over 200 businesses & 6,000 staff.
“The name Essendon Airport is associated with the Airport’s former use as Melbourne’s major Airport until 1970 and its current role as an Airport is not well understood. The Airport’s name should continue to evolve with its role and not be frozen in time,” said Chris Cowan, CEO Essendon Fields.
This is the Airport’s fifth name being formerly known as St John’s Airfield, Essendon Aerodrome, Melbourne Airport and most recently Essendon Airport.
“The airport site has changed since 2001 when it was sold to the Fox & Beck families. We now have 6,000 jobs on site from only 500 in 2001. Aviation trends have seen a major increase in demand for emergency services, bigger quieter corporate jets and recently airlines services to regional areas. We see those three sectors as the future of Essendon Fields Airport,” added Chris.
The name change coincides with the recent expansion of regional airlines and more corporate jets choosing to use the airport as their Melbourne base.
“There are now 4 airlines servicing 8 regional destinations and 100,000 passengers using Essendon Fields to travel to regional airports. Sharp – services Warrnambool, Portland, King and Flinders Islands; JETGO – Dubbo and Wollongong, Free Spirit – Merimbula and our newest airline Fly Corporate connects passengers from Orange. The passengers avoid the busy-ness of both Sydney and Melbourne Airports.
The airport is also home to 50 of Australasia’s 150 corporate jet fleet meaning you can fly anywhere, anytime.
One third of all movements at the Airport are Victoria’s emergency services. The police air wing has announced an upgraded helicopter fleet and new fixed wing capability,” added Chris.
Only 8kms down the Tullamarine Freeway, Essendon Fields Airport complements rather than competes with Melbourne Airport.
“Melbourne is fortunate to have an airport dedicated to Emergency Services, Corporate Jets and Regional airlines not restricted by the activities of the major commercial airlines. The connections to regional centres are well serviced out of Essendon Fields Airport”, said Lyell Strambi, Melbourne Airport CEO.
Leasing is well progressed to commence a $3m makeover of the heritage terminal building that first opened in 1959. The refurbishment includes new check-in and passenger screening facilities, a new café and 8 commercial tenancies. The terminal has the capacity to handle up to 200,000 passengers per annum.
Other recent aviation projects have included an $8 million main runway overlay and $12 million on 2 new hangars.
“The new airlines came here based on word-of-mouth, which is the best way to grow. Their regional passengers seem to like the relaxed experience and the proximity to town. We have provided a free shuttle to Melbourne Airport for connecting passengers to make the short trip hassle-free,” added Chris.
Essendon Airport Background
The airport name has changed over time.
• 1919: St John’s Airfield
• 1923: Essendon Aerodrome
• 1950: Melbourne Airport
• 1970: Essendon Airport
• 2017 Essendon Fields Airport
The Government sold the 99 year Airport lease over the site to the Fox & Beck families in 2001.
The Airport site is located in the new suburb of Essendon Fields which was gazetted in 2008. Since 2001, the Beck & Fox families have adopted a long-term approach to investing in Essendon Fields. Today, Essendon Fields comprises of 4 centres of excellence; Aviation, Auto Centro, DFO and the Business District.
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