Melbourne Airport Guide
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Your Complete Guide to Melbourne Airport

Melbourne Airport is the second largest airport in Australia, and is also well known as the Tullamarine Airport, as it is situated adjacent to the suburb of Tullamarine. The airport is found approximately 23 km, or 14 miles from the city centre of Melbourne, and is particularly nearby Craigieburn, Bulla, Broadmeadows and Fawkner. Melbourne Airport was built in the 1970’s to replace the former primary airport of Melbourne, known as Essendon Airport. This airport is still served by a few airline carriers, and is also nearby Melbourne Airport. Out of four airports serving the Melbourne metropolitan area, Melbourne Airport is the only one that is international, handling approximately five million international passengers per annum. Overall, around 27 million passengers pass through Melbourne Airport each year.

Located at a distance from the city centre of Melbourne, Melbourne Airport, in Victoria, has its own postcode, of 3045. The airport is also recognized by its official IATA code of MEL, and its ICAO code is listed as YMML. The main access road of the airport is the Tullamarine Freeway, which has an off-ramp leading directly to the airport grounds, as well as a second off-ramp, which provides access for freight transport, taxis, buses and airport staff. However, motorists may need a CityLink pass in order to reach Melbourne Airport. Alternatively, motorists may travel toll-free via the Western Ring Road. Passengers with a GPS system can use the following coordinates for help with directions to the airport:  37°40′24″S 144°50′36″E. The largest airport in Australia, Sydney Airport, operates according to a strict curfew, but Melbourne Airport is curfew-free, and in operation 24 hours a day. However, freight airline companies mainly use the earlier morning hours.

Melbourne Airport is a hub for the airline carriers of Tiger Airways Australia, Qantas, JetStar Airways and Virgin Australia, and these airline companies offer a wide range of domestic and international destinations. The busiest route from Melbourne Airport is to Sydney International Airport, with almost eight million passengers per annum. This is also considered to be the 4th most travelled air route in the world. Other local destinations served by these popular airline companies include Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Newcastle, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, while their international destinations include Auckland, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, London Heathrow and Singapore. The most well travelled international route is to Singapore Changi Airport, with almost a million passengers per year. Alternative airline carriers at Melbourne Airport are Air New Zealand, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Regional Express Airlines, United Airlines and Cathay Pacific.

Many of these airline carriers, as well as Vietnam Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Thai Airways and Korean Air have recently purchased the larger aircraft known as the Airbus A380. Construction work was therefore needed to enable Melbourne Airport to handle the double-decker aircraft, and new dual airbridges were built at Gates 9 and 11. Both decks of the Airbus A380 were now possible to board simultaneously in order to reduce turnaround times. Other improvements made were the widening of the North-South runway, and the extension of the international terminal building by 20 metres to include new penthouse airline lounges. An extra baggage carousel was added as well. Test flights were made in November of 2005, and the first passenger flight landed at the airport in May 2008. Qantas began non-stop flights with the Airbus A380 to Los Angeles in October 2008.

Melbourne Airport is significant in terms of cargo traffic as well, and is considered to be the second busiest airport for international export freight and the second largest import freight airport in Australia. Approximately 350,000 tonnes of airfreight are handled by Melbourne Airport each year, which means that this airport has 30% of Australia’s freight market. 21 dedicated freight operators, including Australian Air Express, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Qantas Freight, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Toll Priority and Cargo Garuda Indonesia, make 3,000 weekly flights to the airport.

The other three airports in Melbourne are the Moorabbin, Avalon and Essendon Airports, and Melbourne, or the Tullamarine Airport, was effectively constructed in the later 1960’s to replace the Essendon Airport, which at that time, was the official international airport of the region. However, its facilities were far inadequate to handle the increasing passenger numbers, and the newer and larger airline carriers, as its runways were too short and terminal facilities too small. The Tullamarine site was chosen to maintain proximity to Essendon Airport, and a five-year plan was put into place for Melbourne Airport. In the first year of operations, Melbourne Airport handled six international airlines, and over 150,000 international passengers. Today, Melbourne Airport is operated by the Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Limited, and consists of four terminal buildings and two asphalt runways of reasonable lengths. Extensions of both existing runways are planned for the future, as well as the construction of another two new runways. Melbourne Airport is also home to the Melbourne Centre, which is an air traffic control facility responsible for the separation of aircraft in the Melbourne FIR region.

Melbourne’s terminal buildings are all well equipped with a wide range of facilities for all their arriving and departing passengers, with several VIP lounges, banking services, shops and restaurants and facilities for the comfort of disabled passengers. The Terminals are simply referred to as the Terminals 1, 2, 3 and 4, and Terminal 2 is the international terminal, while Terminal 4 handles all budget airline carriers. Terminal 4 used be known as the South Terminal, or the Domestic Express, and is the first of its kind at a conventional airport in Australia. Expansions of this terminal’s facilities are possible in the near future. Qantas, Jetstar, QantasLink and other Qantas Group Airlines mainly use terminal 1, while Terminal 3 is home to Virgin Australia and Regional Express Airlines.

Melbourne Airport is a first-class facility that was ranked as among the top five airports in the world in 1997, and is classified as a four-star airport by Skytrax, the airline consultancy company.

The Air Transport Association (IATA) code for Melbourne Airport is MEL. Melbourne Airport is also identified as Tullamarine We have provided the GPS location for Melbourne airport which are as follows -37.67333, 144.84333 to help either your arrival directions to Tullamarine or perhaps give you directions from Tullamarine Airport to your chosen destination.

Please find below a selection of Airlines, Destination and approx flight times from Melbourne Airport.

Destination Weekly Flights Distance
Sydney (SYD) 457 705 Km (438 Miles)
Brisbane (BNE) 209 1,381 Km (858 Miles)
Adelaide (ADL) 170 642 Km (399 Miles)
Canberra (CBR) 111 470 Km (292 Miles)
Gold Coast (OOL) 109 1,328 Km (825 Miles)
Perth (PER) 94 2,701 Km (1,678 Miles)
Hobart (HBA) 73 617 Km (383 Miles)
Launceston (LST) 62 476 Km (296 Miles)
Mildura (MQL) 48 456 Km (283 Miles)
Auckland (AKL) 48 2,637 Km (1,639 Miles)

Here you can see the busiest Airlines that fly from Melbourne Airport are Qantas Airways, Virgin Blue and V Australia amongst others. They cover 71 flight routes out the total of 54. The busiest which is Qantas Airways covers a total of 891 flights per week out of Melbourne Airport and goes to 31 destinations. Of all the destinations from Tullamarine, Qantas Airways covers 26%. Qantas Airways airline offers flights to Kingsford Smith, Brisbane International, Adelaide International Airport, Canberra, Perth International and Gold Coast among others.

You can see below a selection of nonstop flights covered from Melbourne Airport with approximate times

Airliner Destination Flight Time (Est)
Qantas Airways Sydney (SYD) 1 Hour 39 Minutes
Qantas Airways Brisbane (BNE) 2 Hours 26 Minutes
Qantas Airways Adelaide (ADL) 1 Hour 34 Minutes
Qantas Airways Canberra (CBR) 1 Hour 22 Minutes
Qantas Airways Perth (PER) 3 Hours 59 Minutes
Qantas Airways Gold Coast (OOL) 2 Hours 22 Minutes

Many popular hire car companies are located at Melbourne airport and are situated either in the Arrivals lounge or very close by. You will need to present a valid driving licence and credit card if you intend to hire a vehicle at Melbourne airport. With so much choice of car rental at Melbourne airport it may be wise to book online before you arrive as there is limited choice of vehicles at certain times of the year.