Aviation Minister Gordon Rich-Phillips has today announced that Avalon Airport will open to general aviation, in a big win for the Geelong region.
With Avalon Airport's strong domestic airline operation and plans to establish an international terminal, the addition of general aviation positions the airport as one of Australia's premier aviation hubs.
"The closure of the Geelong Airport at Grovedale has driven a need to find a new home for commercial and private aviation in the region," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
"Avalon can now attract and service the general aviation market and offer an accessible alternative for recreational users.
"Private and commercial flight training, charter and emergency services will be able to use the airport."
Mr Rich-Phillips said Avalon Airport also played an important role in bringing tourists to the region and acting as a gateway to the Geelong region and the Great Ocean Rd.
"The decision to open to general aviation reinforces Avalon's position as a hub for tourism and as a destination for the aviation community."
Mr Rich-Phillips said the Coalition Government had spent $150,000 on a feasibility study to investigate alternatives to Geelong Airport, and provide options for the local aviation community.
"Avalon Airport's master plan is expected to be completed by the end of the year and will set out the vision and future development of the airport over the next 20 years," Mr Rich-Phillips said.
Avalon Airport CEO Justin Giddings welcomed the arrangement, saying that the addition of general aviation would complement plans underway to grow domestic and international services.
"We have the size and the flexibility to be able to accommodate general aviation as well as domestic and international operations," Mr Giddings said.
"This announcement is another demonstration of what a great asset Avalon Airport is for the Geelong region and for Victoria more broadly," Mr Giddings said.
To accommodate the additional activity, Avalon Airport has developed a system whereby general aviation will be encouraged to operate during "Circuit Training Periods" – times when airlines are not scheduled to fly. These Circuit Training Periods will ensure general aviation traffic will not impact on the airline traffic.
Aircraft operators can choose to base their aircraft at Avalon Airport, or simply use Avalon Airport as required. Discounts on aeronautical charges will apply to operations within the Circuit Training Period.
The Avalon Airport website contains information regarding Circuit Training Periods and aeronautical charges, Conditions of Use and the application form to base aircraft at Avalon Airport. www.avalonairport.com.au