Melbourne, capital of Victoria in Australia, will have a second international airport later this year when Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia X moves its operations to Avalon Airport. The move was confirmed during a joint announcement at the airport on 4th February 2018.
AirAsia X Malaysia will operate twice daily flights as the first international carrier at the airport. The move is expected to reduce the cost of long-haul flights for residents of Melbourne and nearby centres. It will also improve access to onward destinations in Asia and beyond.
Up to 500,000 international passengers are projected to move through Avalon Airport in the first year of operations.
AirAsia X flights will continue to operate from Melbourne (Tullamarine Airport) until flights from Avalon Airport are operational later this year.
Why move to Avalon Airport?
There is obviously a cost benefit in this move. This was alluded to by AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes when he thanked Avalon for supporting AirAsia in helping all travellers through low fares. He added:
…. We are proud to renew our commitment to making air travel affordable for Australians with this move to Avalon, which will help us maintain our cost edge and allow us to continue offering low fares to Asean, Asia and beyond. Tony Fernandes
Access to the airport is currently only accessible by road from Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and surrounding areas. It’s hoped that a train connection will be in place in the not too distant future. A check on the Victoria Railways site shows that the Lara Station is about 7km from the airport. This is serviced by the V/line trains towards Geelong and could be a hand shuttle connection.
Avalon Airport is 50 minutes by road to the Melbourne CBD. With the change in status, it will be the closest international airport to the Great Ocean Road. Located on the western side of Port Phillip Bay, it’s close to the city of Geelong. The city is home to Geelong Grammar School and two of Deakin University’s campuses, Waterfront and Waurn Ponds.
Bells Beach, home of the big surfing championships each Easter long weekend, is just ‘down the road’.
The move will also increase the cargo capacity, given the large volumes of freight capacity that AirAsia X carries on each flight. This is of particular interest to food producers needing good and quick access to their markets.
The 10-year agreement signed today, is structured to accommodate AirAsia X’s significant growth. This was noted in his comments by Avalon Airport CEO, Justin Giddings who added
….. Low-cost flights combined with an easy airport experience makes for the perfect partnership. We’re extremely pleased to welcome AirAsia to Avalon Airport. Justin Giddings