Discover the Magical Australia through Melbourne Tullamarine (MEL)
Melbourne International Airport tops the list of Australia’s main domestic and international gateways. This airport operates twenty-four hours a day. It serves more than twenty international airlines. Melbourne airport is roughly twenty-five kilometers from Melbourne city CBD (Central Business District). In 2007, the Airports International Council Quality Survey rated this airport among the top five best airports in the world.
Essendon Airport was Melbourne’s main airport before the opening of the Melbourne Airport. 1950 was the year Essendon Airport was officially designated as an international airport. In the mid 1950s, more than ten thousand passengers used the airport. Over time, the limitations of this airport started to become apparent.
Essendon Airport’s facilities became insufficient to address the ever-increasing demand for air travel. The runways became too short to handle the new jet airliners of that time. The terminals failed to meet the growing number of passengers. By the late 1950s, developers constructed an international overflow terminal. Because of urban boundary encroachment, residential housing surrounded the airport. Consequently, expansion wasn’t possible.
In February 1958, a search for an airport to replace Essendon airport began. Later that year, a panel was formed to assess the Melbourne’s civil aviation needs. An year later (1959), the commonwealth government acquired approximately 13,000 acres (5,300 ha) of grassland in the then-rural Tullamarine.
In May 1959, there was an announcement that the construction of a new airport would take place at Tullamarine. Fast forward, in July 1970, John Gorton, the then Prime Minister, opened the Melbourne airport. This ended Essendon’s two decade run as Melbourne’s international airport. However, Essendon remained home to domestic flights for a single year. This continued until there was a transfer to the Melbourne airport on June 1971. The maiden arrival of the Boeing 747 occurred later on that year.
During its first year of operations, Melbourne International airport handled over 155, 375 passengers and six international airlines.
Some of the airlines that use this airport include:
· Air China
· Air Vanuatu
· Air India
· China Southern Airlines
· Cathay Pacific
· China Eastern Airlines
· Qatar airways
· Regional Express Airlines
· Royal Brunei Airlines
· Virgin Australia
Over time, Melbourne International airport has received countless awards. Some of these are:
· The International Air Transport Association ranked this airport among the top five best in the world in the years 1997, 1998 and 2003. The airport received the Eagle Award.
· In 1999, the Australian Airport Association named this airport as the airport of the year.
· From 1996 to 2003, the Airports Council International and Business Traveler Magazine ranked the Melbourne International Airport among the top ten airports handling between 15-25 million passengers.
· Melbourne International Airport has won several state and national tourism awards.
· In 2002 and 2004, the Singapore airlines presented this airport with Service Partner Award and Premier Business Partner Award.
· Melbourne International Airport won Australian Construction Achievement Award in 2006, for the runway-widening project.
· In the world airport awards, Skytrax ranked this airport as 43rd best airport in the world in 2012.
Routes and Destinations
The airport offers direct flights to different destinations throughout the world. The Asia Pacific route is the busiest and most traveled route. Some of the destinations the flights from this airport fly to include Europe, North America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
How to Check-In
Melbourne Airport highly recommends that you arrive approximately three hours before your scheduled departure time. A number of check-in counters are located at this airport. You can find the counters at the first floor of the Terminal two. When you check-in, ensure you have the following documents:
· Departing passenger card
· Travel documents, including booking and/or ticket reference
Baggage and Allowance
You can rest assured that your luggage is safe whenever you are at this airport. Whether you need storage facilities for long or short periods, the airport has you sorted. There is a friendly team that can assist you with last minute faxing, printing or any urgent online visa application need.
The baggage storage operates seven days every week from 5am-12.30am. A photo ID is required for those in need of storage. If you find the desk unattended to, feel free to pick up the phone that is located at the desk.
The following are some conditions related to storage:
· Overdue/late pickups – A ten-minute grace period applies in addition to the original pick-up time during check-in. Standard storage fees apply to overdue items.
· Full daily storage rates usually apply to all stored items after twenty four hours
· Change of personal circumstances, flight delays/cancellations, events beyond control of the facility and/or early pickups do not attract any refunds
· You must present a valid photo identification in form of licenses or passports etc
Different airlines at the airport have different seating capacities.
Inquire from the specific airline you are using about the booking fee because it varies with different airlines.