The Ins and Outs of Melbourne Airports

Melbourne International Airport

There are a few Melbourne airports, but just one international one. It is the Tullamarine airport that was built in the 1970 to accommodate large jets.

It is located 20km north of the city and easily accessible via the Tullamarine Freeway.

As the airport is some way out of town, it saves most Melbournians from living under flight paths.

Melbourne is the second largest Australian airport behind Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport. But unlike Sydney, it has no curfews with planes coming in and out of Melbourne potentially any time of the day.

Yet, Melbourne is small and provincial compared to airports in the rest of the world – it’s nearly at the end of the world, after all.

Tullamarine has 4 Terminals, 3 standard ones for major airlines and a converted building for new low cost domestic flights. No 1 is used by Qantas and Jetstar, No 2 is the international terminal, located between the domestic carriers. No 3 is Virgin Blue’s as well as some other small airlines, and No 4, the ‘shed’, is for Melbourne’s newest low cost airline, Tiger Airways.

How to get from and to Tullamarine Airport

There are plenty of car hire options at Tullamarine. Driving into the city takes about 20 minutes outside peak hours.

If you are driving your own car, long term parking options are convenient and cheaper than public transport if you don’t stay away too long.

There is also an airport bus, the Skybus Super Shuttle, which takes you into Melbourne for about $16. It takes about 20 minutes and leaves frequently from just outside the Arrival terminals. It arrives and departs at the Southern Cross Transit Centre.

If three or four of you travel together however, taking a taxi cab is just as economical. A taxi into the city is about $50.

Not much more expensive than the bus is the Melbourne airport shuttle , which has the added advantage of a personal service and takes you to your hotel.

Avalon Airport

This is the other of the commercial Melbourne airports. Avalon airport is also a place for jet pilot training and the Australian International Airshow that claims to be the largest in the southern hemisphere. The next one will be in 2009.

Avalon airport is 40 minutes southwest of the city without freeway congestion, but only 15 minutes from Geelong.

It takes twice as long to get to Avalon from Melbourne than to Tullamarine, but if you have time and are short on money, this is a great option.

It is one of the Melbourne airports Jetstar uses for its flights – and these are cheaper than flights from Tullamarine (except for Tiger Airways).

How to get to Avalon Airport

If you are driving, Avalon Airport is 55km southwest of Melbourne alongside the Princes Freeway, the main road between Melbourne and Geelong. It is the most convenient airport to come into to get to the Great Ocean Road.

There is airport car hire Melbourne at Avalon airport with most major car rental companies represented.

If no one is picking you up, don’t despair. There is a bus service that meets every flight. No bookings are required. It arrives and leaves from the Southern Cross Transit Centre in Melbourne. The trip takes just over an hour and will cost around $20.

Another alternative is the Melbourne airport shuttle, which meets every flight as well and provides the convenience of taking you directly to your hotel.

Catching a taxi is around $80. It defeats the purpose of choosing a discount flight, but they are available too.

Other Melbourne Airports

Essendon Airport is the central airport for small aircraft, private flight schools and corporate jets. It is the closest airport to the city, only 13 km to the north.

It was the original Melbourne airport during the pioneering days of flying in the 1920s and beyond. Famous people who arrived at Essendon airport were Queen Elizabeth II in 1956 and the Beatles in 1964. Moorabin Airport is a regional and award winning small airport for small aircraft and flight schools in the Southeast of Melbourne.

It also has an air museum and helicopter terminals.

International Airport Codes

Each airport in the world has been given an international airport code. Tullamarine is MEL airport, and Avalon Aiport has the code AVV. This can create some confusion at times:

Since we locally abbreviate Melbourne with Mlb , people tend to search for MLB airport when they want to fly to Melbourne Australia. However, MLB is the code for Melbourne US, a small beach town in Florida on the Atlantic - perhaps not a bad alternative.

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