The Avalon Airport CEO suggested increasing the site’s international capacity as an alternative to building a third runway at Melbourne Airport in Tullamarine.
Justin Giddings made the comments after Melbourne Airport released its draft Master Plan and draft Major Development Plan in January, outlining plans to build a new north-south runway and a new terminal.
Mr Giddings said that Avalon has heavily invested in its international terminal, as well as its domestic terminal.
“You could re-allocate some of the international capacity from Melbourne Airport to Avalon,” he said.
“It would be great for regional tourism, as well as regional employment.
“Imagine flying into Avalon and having more people travel to the Werribee Open Range Zoo and other places, straight from the airport.”
Two airlines already fly internationally from Avalon, AirAsia and Citilink, although their operations are on hold at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents of the north-western suburbs, including in the municipalities of Hume and Brimbank, have expressed concern about the impacts that having a third runway at Tullamarine could have on their communities in terms of increased noise and other issues.
However, Mr Giddings said that having more international flights to and from Avalon would mitigate this.
“At Avalon, we have paddocks to the north and the sea and Corio Bay to the south,” he said.
“It’s perfect for a small, or minimal, impact on the community.”
Mr Giddings added that re-directing traffic from Melbourne Airport to Avalon would also help cut the congestion experienced on roads in Tullamarine.
He described the Tullamarine Freeway as “packed” during times of peak demand at Melbourne Airport.
As an added bonus, Mr Giddings said that Avalon Airport was already prepared to take on more international passengers.
“We’ve got heaps of capacity and we are ready to go,” he said.
Mr Giddings said that prior to the pandemic, a number of Wyndham community members would fly straight from Avalon to Asia.
“The Wyndham population has really supported Avalon Airport, that is a growing market for us,” he said.