There should be no end of fun in Melbourne as the aviation ambitions of Paul Little for a corporate jet centre at its main airport at Tullamarine fly across the interests of fellow logistics tycoon Lindsay Fox and his interests in nearby Essendon Airport and the remote but strategically well positioned Avalon Airport.
And the fun won’t end there. In the bigger picture both Melbourne Airport and Essendon are destined to run out of space, most likely sooner rather than later as the Melbourne economy powers ahead, and Little could drive more changes in how its airports work than might be immediately apparent from what looks like a very interesting development.
Little’s plans for Melbourne Airport make sense with a capital ‘S’ and would add to its strong growth in aviation related employment as well as put currently all but dead space to productive use.
But Melbourne Airport will undoubtedly need every square metre of space available for large scale airliner operations within two decades, given its strong growth and finite dimensions. Essendon Airport, which is a deceptively short distance down the Tullamarine Freeeway from Melbourne Airport if you fall victim to its traffic jams, is hated by the communities under its flight paths.
It is fair to say that closing Essendon Airport, and turning all of the original airport over to shopping precincts, would not only be politically highly popular, but might just possibly one day, be more than attractive to its owners.
If Little’s Tullamarine venture attracts corporate jet business away from Essendon, and it is really hard to imagine that it wouldn’t, it could speed up a ‘rationalisation’ of the the assets, and cause dancing in the streets.
It would also cause more than a small degree of happiness in the bigger jet flying community, and even in AirServices Australia, since the approach routes to Melbourne do, in particular now, if not yesterday, need redesigning according to a number of jet airliner pilots.
Removing the complications that Essendon’s existence as an airport are said to cause for some approaches to Melbourne Airport would allow this to happen.
Covering Essendon Airport with retailing plazas would also discourage the occasional attempt by unsuitably large and inattentively flown airliners to land on its rather short runway by lining up with it rather than a very close larger runway at Melbourne Airport.
Almost over the horizon to the SW of Melbourne and Essendon Airports, Avalon awaits its destiny. The more congested the nearer Melbourne Airports (and its often abominable freeway) get, the sooner that destiny will become reality.