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    Connecting Victoria to the world since 1 July 1970

    Melbourne Airport has been connecting Victoria to the world for 50 years, welcoming more than three quarters of a billion travellers over the decades. 

    Together we can reflect on how far we have come, to be Australia’s busiest 24/7 airport, and to be an airport Melbourne can be proud of.
     

    The jump start Melbourne needed

    The opening of the international airport on 1 July 1970 allowed the world to come to Melbourne, and the hopes and dreams of Melburnians to take flight.

    An airport for all Melburnians to cherish

    Reflect on images of the past, with some of the moments that have marked the history of Melbourne Airport and the Australian aviation industry. 


    Five decades of milestone moments 

    Melbourne Airport has grown into Victoria’s primary gateway for air travel, tourism and freight. Look at how much has been achieved in 50 years of connecting Victoria to the world. 

    1970s

    May 1959 Sir Robert Menzies Prime Minister of Australia (1939 - 1941, 1949 - 1966) announces that a new airport will be built at Tullamarine
    27 November 1962 Government approves a five-year plan for a new international jet airport (“jetport”) at a cost of $45M
    11 November 1964 First sod turned by then Senator John Gorton commencing construction at Melbourne
    August 1965 First sod turned by then Senator John Gorton commencing construction at Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine
    1 July 1970 RT. Hon. J.G. Gorton Prime Minister of Australia (1969 -1971) officially opens Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine for international operations
    • First international arrival, Alitalia AZ723 from Rome
    • First international departure, Qantas QF530 City of Bendigo to San Francisco
    15 August 1970 Astrojet Space and Science Centre opens
    20 June 1971 Domestic operations commence at Melbourne Airport
    20 June 1972 Concorde prototype arrives in Melbourne from London on its first international proving flight
    1973 Expansion works completed to allow Boeing 747’s to service the airport
    c1975 In a world first, Trans Australia Airlines paints a mural on an aircraft and also mounts a movie camera to the tail of VH-TJB Boeing 727-76 for brand promotion
    4 to 12 August 1975 Concorde conducts a series of environmental test flights between Melbourne and Singapore
    December 1975 Inaugural Pan Am service from New York to Melbourne
    March 1976 AC/DC arrives at Melbourne Airport for their concert at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
    5 March 1977 ABBA arrives at Melbourne Airport for the Moomba performance at Sidney Myer Music Bowl
    November 1977 Inaugural Lufthansa service from Frankfurt to Melbourne

    1980s


     
    22 July 1981 First wide-bodied commercial service by an Australian domestic airline, the Airbus A300 by Trans Australia Airlines from Melbourne to Sydney
    17 April 1983 The Prince and Princess of Wales conclude their four-week royal tour and fly out of Melbourne Airport
    27 June 1983 First commercial service of a Boeing 767 in Australia, by Ansett from Melbourne to Sydney
    1986 Trans Australia Airlines changes its name to Australian Airlines
    1986 First commercial service of a Boeing 737 by Australian Airlines
    January 1988 Melbourne Airport placed under the control of the Federal Airports Corporation (FAC)
    2 February 1989 First commercial service of an Airbus A320 in Australia, by Ansett Australia from Melbourne to Sydney
    18 August 1989 Australian Pilots’ dispute coordinated by Australian Federation of Air Pilots (AFAP) impacting Ansett, East-West, Ipec and Trans Australia Airlines

    1990s

    1990 Deregulation of the Australian airline industry
    1990 Compass Airlines (MkI), Australia’s first low cost airline commences operations
    20 September 1990 Betty Wilson, 10 millionth international passenger, lands at Melbourne Airport
    October 1990 Trans Australia Airlines acquires Sunstate Airlines
    25 October 1990 Nelson Mandela arrives at Melbourne Airport on the final leg of his three-day historic visit to Australia
    1991 Expansion of Ansett domestic terminal completed
    1991 International terminal upgrade commences with a redevelopment cost of $177M
    20 December 1991 Compass MkI ceases operations
    1992 Compass MkII commences operations
    14 September 1992 Qantas acquisition of Australian Airlines
    December 1992 Impulse Airlines commences operations initially as a regional airline, then as a low-cost competitor on the eastern seaboard
    1993 Compass MkII ceases operations
    26 November 1993 Madonna lands at Melbourne Airport as part of her Australian leg of ‘The Girlie Show World Tour’
    April 1994 Australian Government announces plans to privatise all airports owned by the FAC
    9 December 1995 Prototype Boeing 777 visits Melbourne Airport on a demonstration tour
    1996 Inaugural Emirates service from Melbourne to Dubai via Singapore, introducing the B777 to Australia
    1996 T2 international satellite was expanded at a cost of $65M
    2 July 1997 Melbourne Airport leased to Australia Pacific Airports Corporation Limited (APAC) for $1.3B over 50 years
    3 July 1997 Launch of Melbourne Airport’s website with real time flight information
    August 1997 Southern freighter apron extended
    August 1997 Multi-storey car park completed at a cost of $49M
    10 March 1998 Official opening of new cargo terminal, BOC Cargo Services
    May 1998 Melbourne Airport launches a new identity, incorporating an ‘M’ and ‘A’, inspired by the city’s spires and the Yarra River
    29 May 1998 APAC acquires the lease for Launceston Airport for $18.8M over 50 years
    December 1998 Redevelopment of the food court completed, including two new outlets, Noodle Bar and Sbarro
    January 1999 Work commences on the Hilton Hotel (now PARKROYAL) at a cost of $55M

    2000s

    1 November 2000 Inaugural Thai Airways service from Melbourne to Phuket
    4 December 2000 The Domestic Express Terminal opens at a cost of $9M
    7 December 2000 Inaugural China Southern Airlines service from Melbourne to Guangzhou
    23 March 2001 The Hilton Hotel at Melbourne Airport opens
    26 March 2001 British Airways recommences services from Melbourne to London via Singapore
    17 May 2001 Inaugural scheduled service into Melbourne by Virgin Blue
    11 September 2001 Air services from Australia are disrupted following the USA terrorism attacks
    12 September 2001 Ansett Australia Group placed into administration
    30 October 2001 Inaugural Philippine Airlines service from Melbourne to Manila
    November 2001 Impulse Airlines absorbed into the QantasLink group of subsidiary companies
    30 November 2001 Inaugural Air Canada service from Toronto to Melbourne via Honolulu
    4 March 2002 Last flight into Melbourne Airport by Ansett
    26 August 2002 South Terminal officially opens welcoming Virgin Blue and Regional Express as the first airlines to operate from the facility, formerly known as the Ansett Terminal 
    2 August 2003 Emirates commences services from Melbourne to Auckland
    16 December 2003 Inaugural China Eastern service from Melbourne to Shanghai via Sydney
    4 March 2004 Inaugural Pacific Blue service from Melbourne to Christchurch
    25 May 2004 Inaugural scheduled service from Melbourne Airport by Jetstar Airways
    May 2005 North-south runway widened by 15m to facilitate Airbus A380 operations
    1 July 2005 Opening of car park with additional 2,500 car spaces at a cost of $40M
    1 July 2005 Melbourne Airport terminals renamed to T1, T2 and T3
    10 November 2005 Australia’s first dual A380 aerobridge becomes operational
    14 November 2005 Airbus A380 lands at Melbourne Airport on its first long haul test flight outside Europe for Qantas
    10 March 2006 T2 expansion completed to accommodate the A380
    November 2006 Inaugural Jetstar service from Melbourne to Bangkok
    December 2006 Inaugural Jetstar service from Melbourne to Bali
    29 December 2006 Inaugural Jetstar service from Melbourne to Honolulu
    22 October 2007 Inaugural Korean Air service from Melbourne to Seoul
    23 November 2007 Tiger Airways commences operations, headquartered at Melbourne Airport 
    21 November 2007 Inaugural Skywest service from Melbourne to Kalgoorlie, renamed as Virgin Australia Regional Airlines
    15 May 2008 First A380 Singapore Airlines passenger flight lands at Melbourne Airport
    5 June 2008 Melbourne Airport announces plans to install a Category III Instrument Landing System
    21 October 2008 Inaugural Qantas A380 service from Melbourne to Los Angeles
    12 November 2008 Inaugural AirAsia X service from Melbourne to Kuala Lumpur. Ceases operations in 2018
    March 2009 Inaugural Etihad Airways service from Melbourne to Abu Dhabi
    November 2009 Inaugural Qatar Airways service from Melbourne to Doha

    2010s

    Late 2011 T2 expansion completed at a cost of $330M
    December 2011 The first ‘Victoria’s Secret’ store in Victoria opens at Melbourne Airport
    December 2011 Celebrity chefs Frank Camorra and Shannon Bennett open dining venues in T2 departures 
    2012 Runway overlay project completed at a cost of $55M
    17 April 2012 A ‘Sister Airport’ agreement is signed between Melbourne Airport and Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport
    31 January 2013 100 millionth international passenger departs from Melbourne Airport
    27 February 2013 Inaugural Sichuan Airlines service from Melbourne to Chengdu
    30 August 2013 Inaugural Air India flight from Melbourne to Delhi. It was also the first B787 Dreamliner flight into Melbourne Airport
    28 October 2013 Essendon Football Club commences training on new grounds within the Melbourne Airport Business Park
    December 2013 ‘Ring & Ride’ wait zone opens, allowing friends and family to wait for arriving passengers for free for 20 minutes
    14 December 2013 Jetstar commences services from Melbourne to Phuket
    14 March 2014 Melbourne Airport’s new air traffic control tower officially opens at a cost of $19M
    30 March 2014 Jetstar commences services from Melbourne to Osaka
    April 2014 Jetstar commences services from Melbourne to Tokyo 
    3 April 2014 Inaugural Royal Brunei B787 service from Melbourne to London via Brunei and Dubai
    28 October 2014 Inaugural international United Airlines B787-9 Dreamliner service, from Melbourne to Los Angeles
    November 2014 Inaugural AirCalin service from Melbourne to Noumea
    26 December 2014 Inaugural Indonesia AirAsia X service from Melbourne to Bali
    March 2015 Inaugural Tigerair service from Melbourne to Bali
    1 June 2015 Inaugural Air China service from Melbourne to Beijing
    21 September 2015 Lyell Strambi commences his appointment as Managing Director and CEO of APAC 
    25 October 2015 Inaugural China Airlines service from Melbourne to Taipei
    November 2015 First triple aerobridges with glass sidewalls to service the A380 at Bays D9 and D11 completed 
    1 November 2015 Inaugural Scoot Airlines service from Melbourne to Singapore
    December 2015 Emirates open their new T2 lounge
    9 December 2015 T4 officially opened by Scott Morrison Federal Treasurer (2015 - 2018), at a cost of $225M
    April 2016 Papa, Uniform and Golf (PUGs) Taxiway Slab Replacement Program completed
    9 May 2016 Etihad Airways new lounge opens at Melbourne Airport
    26 June 2016 Emirates celebrates 20 years of flying to Melbourne
    1 July 2016 Inaugural Xiamen Air service from Melbourne to Xiamen
    10 August 2016 Landing of first A350 at Melbourne Airport by Singapore Airlines
    30 September 2016 Inaugural Beijing Capital Airlines service from Melbourne to Shenyang
    9 November 2016 Inaugural Hainan Airlines service from Melbourne to Xi’an and Melbourne to Changsha
    5 December 2016 Inaugural Vietnam Airlines B787 service from Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City
    16 December 2016 Qantas daily service from Melbourne to Narita commences
    4 April 2017 Inaugural Virgin Australia service from Melbourne to Los Angeles
    9 May 2017 Inaugural Jetstar service from Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City
    2 June 2017 Inaugural China Southern Airlines service from Melbourne to Shenzhen
    5 July 2017 Inaugural Virgin Australia service from Melbourne to Hong Kong
    4 September 2017 Inaugural Japan Airlines service from Melbourne to Tokyo
    12 September 2017 First ‘pay as you go’ Marhaba Lounge opens
    13 September 2017 Australia’s largest catering facility, Alpha Flight Services within the Melbourne Airport Business Park opens   
    1 October 2017 Inaugural Thai Airways service from Melbourne to Bangkok
    5 October 2017 Inaugural LATAM Airlines service from Melbourne to Santiago
    29 October 2017 Inaugural SriLankan Airlines service from Melbourne to Colombo
    1 November 2017 Inaugural Tianjin Airlines service from Melbourne to Chonggong. Melbourne was the only Australian airport to be serviced by Tianjin
    17 November 2017 Melbourne Duty Free by Dufry ‘next generation’ concept store opens in T2 departures
    20 November 2017 T2 upgrade featuring customised hybrid desks for international airlines opens
    December 2017 The eighth baggage reclaim, the largest carousel at Melbourne Airport, becomes operational
    December 2017 Local craft brewery ‘Stomping Ground’ pops up a new beer garden called T3 ½
    6 December 2017 Inaugural Jetstar service from Melbourne to Zhengzhou
    12 December 2017 T2 luxury retail and dining precinct opens 
    17 December 2017 Inaugural Xiamen Airlines service from Melbourne to Hangzhou
    March 2018 T4 named the best low - cost terminal in the Australia/Pacific region by Skytrax
    24 March 2018 Qantas launches services from Melbourne to London Heathrow via Perth
    25 March 2018 Inaugural China Airlines service from Melbourne to Taipei
    14 May 2018 Melbourne Airport updates its brand identity   
    3 June 2018 Air Canada launches year-round service from Melbourne to Vancouver
    8 June 2018 Inaugural Malindo Air service from Melbourne to Denpasar
    28 June 2018 Qantas launches B737-800 service from Melbourne to Denpasar
    30 June 2018 Aeronautical Services Agreement (ASA) with 37 airlines, representing 94% of the international carriers operating out of Melbourne fully executed
    14 August 2018 Inaugural Cebu Pacific service from Melbourne to Manila
    1 September 2018 Qantas recommences services from Melbourne to San Francisco
    13 October 2018 Melbourne Jet Base located within the Melbourne Airport Business Park opens
    28 October 2018 Inaugural Virgin Australia service from Melbourne to Queenstown
    19 November 2018 Installation of Australia’s largest outdoor digital advertising screens on the T4 car park
    28 March 2019 Australia’s first smart-security screening point in T2 unveiled 
    9 May 2019 New agreement with Qantas reached for the operation of T1
    4 June 2019 $100K annual community grants program announced  
    18 June 2019 Air Vanuatu recommences services from Melbourne to Port Vila
    24 June 2019 Taxiway Zulu Project commenced to deliver new capacity, new routes, new terminal facilities and new levels of operational performance at a cost of over $300M
    2 September 2019 First sod turned on construction of a new Accor Hotel in the airport’s Hive precinct
    October 2019 T2 arrivals hall expansion construction commenced
    31 October 2019 Inaugural United Airlines service from Melbourne to San Francisco
    December 2019 T2 and T3 hospitality overhaul completed
    11 December 2019 Multi-million dollar moving walkways inside T4 commence operation 

    2020

    6 January 2020 Australia’s first surf park URBNSURF opens within the Melbourne Airport Business Park
    7 February 2020 Australia’s first airport brewery opens in T3, run by Stomping Ground Brewing Co.
    24 February 2020 T4 Express Link project commences at a cost of $60M for stage one
    12 March 2020 Grounding of aircraft due to closed international borders and limited interstate air travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
    21 April 2020 Virgin Australia placed into voluntary administration
    12 May 2020 Melbourne Airport named Best Airport in Australia/Pacific in the Skytrax 2020 World Airline Awards
    1 July 2020 Melbourne Airport celebrates its 50th year of operation

    Junior Travellers, prepare for take-off