A second, curfew-free international airport at Avalon has been announced, opening up regional Victoria and the Great Ocean Road to international visitors.
AirAsia has confirmed it will operate twice-daily flights as the first international carrier at the airport, making long-haul flying affordable for Melbourne and the Victorian region, and improving access to more than 130 destinations in Asia and beyond.
The Victorian government has made their support clear for such a venture, as the idea of a new network of international travel will grow Victoria’s international exports and boost visitor economy.
The government said in a release that the project will have significant economic and social benefits for regional Victoria through increased tourism, new employment opportunities, and improved access to international flights.
“This is a big day for Avalon and a game changer for regional Victoria,” Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said.
“We’re proud to support this project that will bring more international visitors to our state and see more quality produce exported to the world stage.”
There is reportedly yet to be any government commitment for investment or financial assistance to help create the airport.
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A total of 500,000 international passengers are projected to move through Avalon Airport in the first year of operations.
Construction of the terminal will create an additional 33 jobs and once complete, will create more than 200, and will be capable of exporting 14 tonnes of Victorian fresh produce every day.
“We are proud to be the first airline to operate international flights at Avalon Airport,” AirAsia Malaysia chief executive Benyamin Ismail said.
“Melbourne and Victoria are important markets to us and this new service with 560,000 seats annually will provide a significant boost to business and tourism, including to such attractions as the Great Ocean Road.”