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A History of Melbourne International Airport

It is estimated that every year over 32 million travellers walk through the corridors of Melbourne International Airport, with an expected 60 million by 2030. Those travellers are so focused on reaching their final destination that they don’t realise they are walking through a building rich in history. History lovers and travellers alike will have a greater appreciation of Melbourne Airport and have you seeing things a little differently next time you board that long haul flight.


Melbourne Airport 1970

Melbourne Airport 1970


The Area Was Once Grassland

Before it was a major international airport, the area was once large grassland. In 1959, the government purchased the area with the hopes of turning it into an airport.

The airport project was announced in 1959 and wasn’t completed until 1970.

A Relatively New Airport for the Area

It might feel like Melbourne International Airport has been around forever, but it hasn’t been around that long. Melbourne Airport was built in July of 1970, which makes it only 45 years old.

Nearby Essendon Airport has been fully operational since the 1920s and used as an international airport since 1950. When you compare Melbourne Airport to Essendon Airport and other international airports, it is relatively new.

Not Always Known as Melbourne Airport

A fun fact! Melbourne Airport wasn’t always known as Melbourne International Airport. It used to be called Tullamarine Airport. In fact, some people still call it Tulla in honour of its original name.

Melbourne Airport Helps Meet the Demand for More International Flights

Up until 1970, Essendon Airport was the only international airport for the region. Unfortunately, Essendon Airport had numerous limitations that put restrictions on the amount of international flights it could handle. These restrictions dramatically impacted the region’s economy by preventing tourists from coming to the area.

In an effort to attract the attention of international tourists, Melbourne Airport was built to help make the area a major international destination for travellers. Melbourne Airport was built to accommodate more flights, which brings more people to the area on a daily basis.

In addition to accommodating more flights, Melbourne Airport was built with the ability to accommodate the then-new Boeing 747 jets. Airlines were using these bigger jets. Unfortunately, many airports – including Essendon Airport – did not have runways that could accommodate the bigger jets.

Melbourne Airport 1995 - without a multi-deck car park

Melbourne Airport 1995 – without a multi-deck car park

Melbourne Airport Continues to Expand to Meet Future Aviation Needs

The aviation industry is always changing. Melbourne Airport is committed to constantly staying up-to-date on the latest changes within the industry. Recently in 2011, a new expansion project was announced.

This expansion project helped improve the airport. It created bigger runways to accommodate the large Airbus A380 jets and provided multiple terminals to help spread out incoming and outgoing flights, whilst providing travellers greater access to restaurants, shops, and retail outlets. (Plenty of things to keep you occupied during a flight delay!)

On your next visit to Melbourne Airport make things easier on yourself. Use Ace Airport Parking’s secure car parking facility. When you use our secure Melbourne airport parking facility, you can take advantage of great short and long-term undercover car parking deals. Upgrade to our Valet Parking Melbourne Airport and treat your car to a wash or service while you are away. Our fast, free shuttle buses can have you at Melbourne airport in minutes, to explore the airport for yourself.

Melbourne Airport aerial today

Melbourne Airport aerial today

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