$11m Govt deal keeps Jetstar at Avalon as airport eyes international flights

By David Flynn, December 11 2013
$11m Govt deal keeps Jetstar at Avalon as airport eyes international flights

Jetstar will continue flights to Melbourne's Avalon Airport until at least April 2015 following the Victorian state government brokering an $11m deal in the hopes of cementing Avalon's future as an international airport.

The package includes $5.5m of taxpayer's money matched dollar-for-dollar by $2.75m each from Avalon Airport owner Linfox and Jetstar itself.

Jetstar currently has five flights a day at Avalon, but the route was considered at risk due to low patronage and the airline's subsequent need to heavily discount fares.

Aviation Industry Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips says the deal secures Jetstar's five flights a day.

The agreement with Jetstar "locks it in for the 18-month window so that we can actually continue to work with Avalon Airport to secure international services, because obviously that's the long term plan for Avalon,"state Aviation Industry Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips told ABC Radio.

Last year Avalon Airport revealed plans to build a new $15m terminal to cater for the customs and security requirements of overseas flights along with space for retail and duty-free. Airport owner Linfox hopes to then attract other low-cost international airlines such as Scoot to Avalon.

The 'missing link' is a railway connecting Avalon to Melbourne, as the airport is located 55km south-west of the Melbourne CBD and currently rely on a shuttle bus or private transport to Melbourne.

Earlier this year the previous and expensive plans for a direct heavy rail link to the airport evolved into a cheaper light rail line branching off the main Melbourne-Geelong train line.

A new Avalon Airport interchange station would be built between the current Lara and Little River stations, with an automated ‘people mover’ to shuttle passengers to and from the airport.

The light rail spur carries a far cheaper price tag than the estimated $250 million direct line pledged by the Victorian Government in 2010, and would also be faster to build.

It’s modelled only on similar systems used both within airports and to connect them to nearby centres, as well as the driverless trains which will run on Sydney’s new North West Rail Link.

Avalon Airport chief executive Justin Giddings envisions “the airport experience” as beginning at Avalon Airport station rather than waiting for passengers to arrive at the terminal.

"They'd check in, drop their bags off, have a coffee or whatever, and get their boarding pass. Then when they're ready, they'd get on to a light rail to the airport."

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David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


23 Jan 2013

Total posts 175

If the Victorian govt has to pay Jetstar to stay at Avalon, how much will NSW taxpayers be forced to pay to lure airlines to Badgery's Creek? 

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 212

Slightly different circumstances. SYD is significantly larger as far as aircraft movements than MEL and also has an overnight curfew whereas MEL does not so the pent up demand for a second airport in SYD is far greater than MEL currently.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Nov 2011

Total posts 122

A slightly different scenario since Badgery's just requires a small extention to be part of the Sydney Trains network and there are major airlines already lining up to take advantage of a curfew free airport. All domestic carriers have said yes (QF, JQ and VA) as have a few international ones.

30 Aug 2013

Total posts 441

Why prop up something that obviously isn't working? They've had years to lure international discount airlines there and it hasn't worked. Why isn't JQi there? Tiger? Air Asia? China Southern? Royal Brunei?

I don't think MEL is THAT expensive or inconvenient that we need AVV

20 Nov 2012

Total posts 20

I don't think Royal Brunei will ever be moving to Avalon considering they fly to Heathrow.

Thai Airways International - Royal Orchid Plus

16 May 2011

Total posts 113

RAIL LINK TO TULLAMARINE BEFORE AVALON! I have simply lost faith in the Victorian government, they are throwing money at a lost cause, whilst theres simply a better airport that can EXPAND and has no curfews.

AVV will be needed in 30-40 years, its not needed now as MEL does its job in serving Melbourne & Victoria, with the new T4 being constructed and new T2 exapansion to be unvieled soon, MEL won't be restricted like SYD within the future so therefore we don't simply need it, I rather the money be place in other infrastructure.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Oct 2013

Total posts 93

I just flew to Japan via OOL today, and the "international terminal" was absoultely pitiful - with customs/duty free looking like they're temporary fixtures, lounges being an incredibly cramped space servicing so many operating LCC flights, and not to mention a single mediocre cafe being the only food choice airside. With Tullamarine available... Melbournians, are you really sure you want to have Avalon servicing intl flights?

Avalon is a dud...The Victorian government is in a weak and desperate state. Good job Jetstar for pushing the buttons to help prop up the Qantas group!

Honestly...the clowns we elect to parliament....*sigh*

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