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Melbourne Airport will soon have its own VIP terminal dedicated to the highest of high-flyers including celebrities, rock bands, cashed-up 'whales' bound for Crown Casino and others belonging to the private jet set.
The curfew-free Melbourne Jet Base, set to open in the later half of 2018, is also expected to be a drawcard for exclusive charter flights for visitors attending major events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Australian Open and of course the Melbourne Cup.
The base is also intended to attract the growing ranks of Asia’s super-rich. Bombardier Business Aircraft predicts that by 2033 China will be the world’s third-biggest market for executive jets after the US and Europe.
Construction has already begun on the terminal, which sits within the Melbourne Aviation Precinct on the site of the former engineering and maintenance facility of Ansett Australia and represents a $100 million investment by the Little Group.
"It's always been my vision to build a world-class private aviation facility at Melbourne Airport," explains Melbourne business tycoon and Little Group CEO Paul Little, who owns a Gulfstream 550 jet.
Under Melbourne Airport's current arrangements, all arriving international travellers are fed through the same channels, although the airport offers a 'VIP room' in the international arrivals and baggage reclaim hall where selected passengers can gather before braving the scrum to exit into the public area.
(However, for some VIPs the airport does allow 'tarmac transfers' based on safety and security requirements.)
The Melbourne Jet Base terminal has been designed by award-winning Cox Architects and will include hangar and servicing facilities for private jet owners, pilot accommodation and a display hangar to showcase a vintage DC3 aircraft
Crown Casino's three Bombardier Global Express XRS jets are already based at the existing facility and will eventually be linked to the casino by a helicopter service to whisk VIPs straight from the terminal to the tables.