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Avalon Airport
Avalon
Some attributes
First Airport type:

Public

Second Owner:

Commonwealth of Australia leased until 2097 to Linfox

Third Operator:

Avalon Airport Australia Pty Ltd.

Other attributes
Avalon Airport is the second busiest of the four airports serving Melbourne (in passenger traffic) and is located in Avalon, Victoria, Australia, which is 15 km (9.3 mi) north-east of the city of Geelong and 50 km (31 mi) to the south-west of the state's capital city of Melbourne.

The airport is designed to cater for jet aircraft and comprises a single runway. Avalon is used by Jetstar Airways and Sharp Airlines for scheduled domestic passenger services and as a heavy maintenance facility by Jetstar's parent company, Qantas. It is also the site of the biennial Australian International Airshow. Previously, air traffic control was only provided at Avalon on request, but on 16 May 2008 it was announced that regular air traffic control facilities would be provided.

Avalon Airport lies between the You Yangs, Corio Bay and Melbourne Water sewage treatment agistment paddocks. The airport continues to fall under the jurisdiction of the Australian Department of Defence.

The airport had 94,180 passengers for the month January 2011

History

Avalon Airport was opened in 1953, to cater for the production of military aircraft. Previously the Government Aircraft Factories located at Fishermans Bend, Melbourne had used a runway beside their factory. However, newer jet aircraft required a longer runway length for safe operations, and the Fishermans Bend runway was being encroached upon by development. Land near Lara was purchased by the Commonwealth Government for a new facility. The site of the airport was originally part of the Avalon homestead and sheep station.

A 10,000 ft (3,048 m) runway was built by Country Roads Board, with the first plane landing on 3 April 1953 – a four-engined Avro Lincoln heavy bomber flown from Fishermans Bend. The Canberra light bomber was under construction at same time at the new airport. In 1959, Qantas established a training base at the site.

In 1985 the Government Aircraft Factories changed its name to Aerospace Technologies of Australia (ASTA).Aircraft produced during this time included the CAC Sabre jet fighter, GAF Jindivik remotely piloted aircraft, and Nomad civil aircraft. Under the ASTA banner, engines for the Dassault Mirage III jet fighters were produced, as well as assembly of the F/A-18 multirole combat aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

In October 1988, the ASTA Aircraft Services division took the first Boeing 747 to Avalon for servicing and maintenance. By December 1993, fifty 747 aircraft had been through the Avalon facility, and 820 people were employed at the site. October 1995 saw a Cathay Pacific Lockheed L-1011 flown to Avalon for scrapping by ASTA Aircraft Services, in what was a one off event.

Training of pilots from Japan's All Nippon Airways commenced at Avalon on 8 September 1993.

On 27 June 1995 Aerospace Technologies of Australia was privatised by the Commonwealth Government,selling the aircraft divisions to Rockwell Australia Limited, and the airport operations to Avalon Airport Geelong Pty Ltd.The ASTA airliner overhauling facility was closed in 1997.

The first scheduled passenger flights out of Avalon were operated by Hazelton Airlines, who commenced flights between Avalon Airport and Sydney in February 1995. 36-seat Saab 340 aircraft were used for the service. The service was discontinued after a short time due to a lack of patronage.

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