A refurbished passenger terminal at what will be known as Essendon Fields Airport will feature new checkin and security screening facilities as part of a facility capable of handling 200,000 passengers a year.
The airport released renderings of what the new terminal will look like on Wednesday, when it also announced a name change to Essendon Fields Airport, from Essendon Airport.
The images show floor-to-ceiling views, access to the airfield from both screen and unscreened departure lounges, and various seating and dining options for passengers.
The heritage terminal at Essendon Fields Airport that is being upgraded first opened 1959.
“Leasing is well progressed to commence a $3m makeover of the heritage terminal building,” the airport said in a statement.
In recent times, the airport has grown from being primarily a base for charter/business jets and Victoria’s emergency services fleet to one that now handles about 100,000 passengers travelling on regular public transport (RPT) flights operated by regional carriers.
Moreover, the surrounding commercial precinct has grown to about 200 businesses comprising car dealerships, a retail shopping centre and 166-room hotel that together employed some 6,000 people.
“The name change to Essendon Fields Airport reflects the fact that aviation is at the heart of Essendon Fields,” Essendon Fields Airport chief executive Chris Cowan said said in a statement.
“Aviation trends have seen a major increase in demand for emergency services, bigger quieter corporate jets and recently airlines services to regional areas.
“We see those three sectors as the future of Essendon Fields Airport.”
Opened in 1919 as St John’s Airfield, the airport has also been previously known as Essendon Aerodrome (1923-1950), Melbourne Airport (1950-1970) and Essendon Airport (1970-2017).
Passenger numbers on Essendon Fields’ regional flights have grown from about 10,000 a year in 2014 to 50,000 in 2016 and 100,000 currently.
Four airlines – Free Spirit Airlines, Fly Corporate, Jetgo and Sharp Airlines – operate RPT flights into and out of Essendon Fields.
The airport is also home to about 50 business jets and was understood to have the most number of international movements outside of the major airports in Australia. The likes of ExecuJet and Executive Airlines are based at Essendon Fields.
Further, the airport said about a third of all movements at Essendon Fields were from Victoria’s emergency services fleet.
A joint-venture between Linfox and Beck Corporation secured a 99-year lease to operate and develop Essendon Fields Airport from the federal government in 2001.