Planning & Environment

Our vision for Essendon Airport is to maintain a commercially viable, safe and functional general aviation facility which meets the projected aviation requirements whilst utilising the property’s strategic land holdings for high quality commercial development.


The Essendon Airport Master Plan is a 20 year plan that outlines the development strategy and planning controls for the airport.

The contents of an airport Master Plan are prescribed in Section 71 of the Airports Act 1996. Under the Act, Essendon Airport must prepare a new Master Plan every 5 years to guide the development of the airport for the next 20 year period.

Essendon Airport’s Master Plan 2013 outlines the direction and vision of Essendon Airport for the period 2013 to 2033, with the aim to create more jobs, increase community benefit and provide a greater vision for the next 20 years.  Further details are also provided on future land use, development proposals and environmental impacts including noise.

The Master Plan was approved on 23 April 2014 by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the Hon Warren Truss MP.

The Master Plan can be downloaded free of charge from the links below while the plan remains in force.

Essendon Airport Master Plan 2013 (full version including Environmental Strategy and Land Use Plan) (31MB)

Essendon Airport Master Plan 2013 (main document) (24MB)

Essendon Airport Environmental Strategy 2013-2018 (4MB)

Essendon Airport Land Use Plan 2013 (4.4MB)

Printed copies of the Master Plan are also available for inspection or purchase by members of the public from the office of Essendon Airport Pty Ltd, Level 2, 7 English Street, Essendon Fields from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday while the plan remains in force.

Community Consultation

In developing the Master Plan, Essendon Airport Pty Ltd (EAPL) advertised a preliminary draft for public comment for a period of 60 business days from 4 September 2013 to 28 November 2013.

During the public comment period, EAPL participated in two information sessions to allow the community to examine and discuss the preliminary draft Master Plan during the consultation process. The first Community Information Session was an exhibition hosted by EAPL and held on Wednesday 25th September 2013 at Essendon Airport Terminal. Attendees were able to view key details of the preliminary draft Master Plan and discuss with EAPL Management.

The second information session was hosted by Moonee Valley City Council (MVCC) on Wednesday 23rd October 2013, at Strathmore Bowls Club. Following a presentation by MVCC, EAPL CEO Chris Cowan and General Manager Aviation Graeme Ware participated in a Community Question & Answer Session.

Thank you to all our community, industry and other stakeholders who made submissions throughout the public comment period. In accordance with the Airports Act 1996, EAPL gave due regard to all written comments received.

Major Development Plans

A major airport development is defined under Section 89 of the Airports Act 1996.

A Major Development Plan is a proposal for a major airport development which is prepared by the airport and submitted to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development for approval.

During the preparation of a Major Development Plan, there is an opportunity for stakeholders and the community to comment on the proposal. In addition to being advertised in the media and on Essendon Airport’s website, Major Development Plan proposals are also brought to the attention of the Victorian Government, Moonee Valley City Council and Essendon Airport’s Community Aviation Consultation Group (CACG).

Commercial Office Development, English Street Precinct

Thank you to the interested stakeholders that submitted written comments regarding the preliminary draft version of the Major Development Plan (MDP) for a proposed commercial office development.

Public consultation closed on Thursday 22nd February 2018. We are currently having regard to the comments received and will update the document prior to submission to the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.

If approved by the Minister, the final version of the MDP will be published on this page later in the year.

Building Activities & Applications

Essendon Airport is located on Commonwealth Land and as such, the State legislation as it relates to the building approval process does not apply. Building works at Essendon Airport are instead subject to regulatory controls by the Federal Government under the Airports Act 1996 and the Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996.

An Airport Building Controller (ABC) is appointed by the Commonwealth Government to ensure that activities at Essendon Airport meet the relevant building and engineering standards. The ABC must be notified about any and all construction activities and formal approval given by way of a Building or Works Permit before works commence. This includes new buildings, fit-outs, civil works such as roads and drains, trenching, excavation and demolition activities.

Under the Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996, some building activities are exempt from a formal application process. However, it is a requirement of the Regulations that the ABC is notified of these works.

For an application for a building activity to be successful at Essendon Airport, it must be consistent with the Essendon Airport Master Plan. In addition to a building permit from the ABC, a separate Planning Consent from the Airport Operator may also be required regarding Use of Land and/or Buildings and Works.

Applicants are advised to contact EAPL at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss their proposal.


Building Approvals At Essendon Fields Airport

Application Form Building Permit

Application Form Demolition Authorisation

Certification Design Form

Application Form Certificate Of Compliance

Application Form Certificate Of Compliance (WORKS)

Application Form Exemption Determination

Application Form Temporary Certificate Of Compliance Occupancy

Application Form Variation Stage Permit

Building Approval Lodgement Checklist

 Application for Planning Consent at Essendon Airport

 Application for Advertising Signs at Essendon Airport


ABC Online

As of July 2018 ABC is online. The process for applying and obtaining approval for all building activities on federally leased airports is moving from a paper-based to an online system.

Further Enquires

Please contact the helpdesk – opening hours 8.30am – 5pm AEST (02) 6274 7977.

Building Applications

Essendon Airport Pty Ltd maintains a register of building activity applications, as required under the Airports (Building Control) Regulations 1996.

Details of building activity applications that have been approved or are currently under consideration by the Airport Building Controller can be viewed at the link below.

181009 Register Of Building Applications

Airspace Protection

Airspace around leased Federal airports is protected under the Airports Act 1996and the Airports (Protection of Airspace) Regulations 1996. The protection of airspace is essential in order to provide a safe and predictable environment for the arrival and departure of aircraft using an airport.

National and international standards have been adopted which define two sets of invisible surfaces above the ground. These surfaces are:

  • Obstacle Limitation Surface (OLS) and
  • Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Aircraft Operations (PANS-OPS)

The OLS is generally the lowest surface and is designed to provide protection for aircraft flying into or out of the airport when the pilot is flying by sight. The PANS-OPS surface is generally above the OLS and is designed to safeguard an aircraft from collision with obstacles when the aircraft’s flight may be guided solely by instruments, in conditions of poor visibility.

Any activity that infringes an airport’s protected airspace is called a “controlled activity” and requires approval before it can be carried out. Controlled activities include the following:

  • long term activities including structures, such as buildings, intruding into the protected airspace
  • short term (no longer than 3 months) activities such as cranes intruding into the protected airspace
  • any activities causing intrusions into the protected airspace through glare from artificial light or reflected sunlight, air turbulence from stacks or vents, smoke, dust, steam or other gases or particulate matter.

The Regulations provide for the airport operator to approve short-term activities intruding the OLS.  The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development approves long term activities and short-term intrusions of the PANS-OPS surface. Long term intrusions of the PANS-OPS surface are prohibited.

A person who carries out a controlled activity without approval commits an offence under Section 183 of the Airports Act 1996. That section provides for a penalty of 250 penalty units for each offence ($42,500 as at August 2014).

In addition, if a building authority receives a proposal for a building activity that, if undertaken, would constitute a controlled activity; it must give notice of the proposal to the airport operator. Failure to do so is an offence under Section 186 of the Airports Act 1996 (50 penalty units – $8,500 as at August 2014).


The approval process varies depending on the type of controlled activity:

  • short-term controlled activities penetrating the OLS can be approved/refused by the airport operator after consultation with CASA and Airservices, or referred by the airport to the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (the Department) for a decision;
  • a decision on long term and short term controlled activities is required to be made by the Department within 28 days of the Department’s receipt of the application.
  • long-term controlled activities penetrating the OLS and short term penetration of the PANS-OPS are referred by the airport to the Department for a decision after consultation with CASA, Airservices and the relevant building authority;
  • a decision on short term controlled activities (OLS) is required to be made within 21 days of the airport operator receiving the application, unless the application is referred to the Department for a decision;
  • long-term controlled activities penetrating the PANS-OPS airspace are not permitted, and the airport operator can notify the refusal of such controlled activities. If the airport operator assesses that the application is long term (more than 3 months duration) and would result in penetration of the PANS-OPS surface, it must be refused.

The Regulations require any decision by the airport operator to be made in the interests of the safety, efficiency or regularity of existing or future air transport operations into or out of the airport.

An approval may be subject to conditions specified by the airport operator. These conditions may concern how the controlled activity is carried out (e.g. hours of operation of a crane), or may require the building or structure to be marked or lit in a certain way. These conditions must also be in the interests of the safety, efficiency or regularity of existing or future air transport operations.

The Regulations set the following timeframes for the approval of controlled activities:

  • If the airport operator, CASA, Airservices or the Department requires further information in respect of individual applications, the decision is to be made within 21 days (for short-term intrusions) or 28 days (for long-term intrusions) of the extra information being provided by the applicant.


Outer OLS surface

Essendon Airport Prescribed Airspace – Existing PANS-OPS Critical Surfaces

Essendon Airport Controlled Activity Application Form

Airspace Protection at Leased Federal Airports

Contractor Inductions

Essendon Airport Pty Ltd (EAPL) and Essendon Fields Pty Ltd (EFPL) require all contractors working on the airport site to undertake its online Contractor Induction programme and carry a completion certificate with them at all times whilst working on the airport site.

Separate induction programs have been developed for contractors working Airside or Landside which address the specific requirements for working in each area.

Non-compliance with the requirements covered within this induction will be a breach of Head Contract Requirements and appropriate action will be taken to ensure compliance.

Should you have any queries, contact your supervisor or Essendon Fields Project Manager.

Click on the link below to undertake the contractor induction:

Complete VicPass application here

Environment Strategy

Environmental programs are in place to manage Essendon Airport’s 305 hectare site whilst also minimising the airport’s impact on the surrounding environment.

Essendon Airport Pty Ltd (EAPL) prepares an Environment Strategy every five years in accordance with the Airports Act 1996 and Regulations. The current 2013 – 2018 Airport Environmental Strategy is included within the approved Essendon Airport Master Plan and is also available to download separately from the link below.

Essendon Airport Environmental Strategy 2013-2018 (4MB)

EPBC Act Assessments

EPBC 2014/7213

Proposed commercial development, including earthworks, construction of roads and services infrastructure in the Wirraway North Precinct, Essendon Airport, Victoria.

The proposed action is a controlled action under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth) (EPBC Act). The controlling provisions are listed threatened species and communities (Sections 18 and 18A); and Commonwealth land (sections 26 and 27A). The proposed action involves the removal of native vegetation from the development site to facilitate the commercial development of the Airport.

On March 31, 2015, the proposed action received approval under the EPBC Act by the Delegate for the Minister for the Environment (Cth).

Management Plans associated with the approval can be accessed from the links below:

Construction Environmental Management Plan

Offset Management Plan

In accordance with the conditions of approval, Essendon Airport Pty Ltd must publish an annual report on this website addressing compliance with each condition, including implementation of any management plan.

The annual report is due to be published within three months of every 12 month anniversary of the commencement of construction.

Annual Compliance Reports:

160805 Compliance Report 2016 – EPBC 2014-7213 (with attachments).pdf

170803 Compliance Report 2017 – EPBC 2014-7213 (with attachments).pdf

181005 Compliance Report 2018 – EPBC 2014-7213 (with attachments).pdf