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Avalon Airport boss to head up AMDA Foundation, Avalon Airshow

written by Hannah Dowling | February 2, 2022

Avalon Airport CEO Justin Giddings. (Avalon Airport)

Current Avalon Airport CEO Justin Giddings has been appointed as the new CEO of AMDA Foundation, the organiser of the iconic Avalon Airshow.

It will mark the end of Gidding’s tenure at Avalon Airport, after being appointed as chief executive in 2008. In the 14 years since, Giddings has overseen the airport’s expansion into an international airport and transformed it into a new hub for Jetstar’s domestic operations in Melbourne.

It comes as longstanding AMDA chief executive Ian Honnery announced he will be retiring from the role at the end of March, after holding the title for 46 years, since the foundation’s inception.

After nearly five decades as the foundation’s CEO, overseeing the Avalon Airshow, as well as the Indo Pacific International Maritime Exposition and the RotorTech Helicopter convention, Honnery welcomed Giddings as his successor.

“At the age of 75, it is time for me to hand over to a new generation of leadership, who will build on and advance the organisation’s achievements and success,” Honnery said.


“Justin is well known for his success in developing Avalon Airport into Melbourne’s second international airport, but also for his dedication in building industry through regional economic development and vocational education.”

AMDA Foundation Board chair, Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie (Ret’d) thanked Honnery for his service with the foundation, and paid tribute to his 46-year tenure.

“AMDA Foundation’s stature as an established, respected leader in promotion of Australian industry owes much to the vision, skill and sheer determination of the man who has led the organisation for some 46 years since its inception,” Ritchie said.

“Over nearly five decades, Ian Honnery and his team have created an organisation which has made a material contribution to the development of Australian industry, in the interests of the nation.

“Ian’s retirement, delayed so he could steer AMDA through the tribulations of COVID and oversee AMDA’s contribution to the Royal Australian Air Force Centenary year, will be well deserved.”

Ritchie also welcomed Giddings into his new position, leading the foundation out of the pandemic.

“The AMDA Foundation board believes Justin Giddings has the experience, vision and drive to pick up where Ian Honnery leaves off and to ensure the continued success of AMDA Foundation for the future,” he said.

“The selection of Justin Giddings means AMDA will continue to be led by a chief executive who is an accomplished and constructive business leader, committed to AMDA’s altruistic mission and familiar with the complexities and challenges of the Australian International Airshow as AMDA’s signature event.”

Justin Giddings said he was “looking forward to leading the AMDA organisation and building on its achievements under the stewardship of Ian Honnery”.

“I have always strongly supported AMDA Foundation’s mission of stimulating Australian industry promotion and engagement through industry focused events and in fostering public awareness of industry and of opportunities in careers and skills,” Mr. Giddings said.

“I have been fortunate to have worked alongside Ian for many years and have enormous admiration and respect for what he has achieved. He leads a wonderful organisation, and I am humbled to continue his service to the industry.

“I was an aircraft maintenance engineer before moving into airport management, securing airline services and industry operations through both national and international business development. Aviation, technology and industry are in my blood, and with experience from the hangar floor to the management office, I have a passion for promoting vocational skills and careers.”

“The next 12 months will be an action-packed year for AMDA,” Ritchie added.

“We will continue to progress the online AMDA Connects industry engagement initiatives we introduced following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and our export, innovation and workforce promotion programs.

“AMDA will also be conducting the Indo Pacific International Maritime Exposition in May with support from Navy, the RotorTech Helicopter and Unmanned Flight Exposition in June and the Land Forces International Land Defence Exposition in October with participation by Army.

“Then, in conjunction with Air Force, we will be staging the largest ever Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition at Avalon, in early March 2023, with the theme ‘The Future Is Now – From The Sky To The Stars’.

“All of our events are expected to attract record international participation and will take Australia to the world, by bringing the world to Australia.”

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