Lisa Tisdell travelled to Melbourne courtesy of JETGO
AVIATION is the heart of Essendon Fields.
Passengers on JETGO flights linking Port Macquarie and Melbourne travel via Essendon Airport.
It is an airport with a difference.
Essendon Fields chief executive officer Chris Cowan said passengers flew into a thriving business district, which was unique.
A short walk will take you to the shopping centre, Runway Plaza, and popular independent supermarket LaManna.
JETGO operates from a no-frills building near the heritage-listed airport terminal as a temporary measure.
Essendon Fields, with aviation at its core, also includes six centres of excellence and 200 businesses.
AutoCentro alone is home to 16 car brands and another six dealership sites coming soon.
The 300 hectare Essendon Fields precinct boasts 5000 employees with the ultimate capacity of supporting 18,000 jobs. The airfield covers about 150 hectares.
A 300-bed private hospital is proposed, a 166-room Hyatt Place is under construction and a 1000-seat events centre has just opened.
“Everything we do here has a little bit of difference to it and at the centre of all that is aviation,” Mr Cowan said.
“The passengers here are the rock stars. Everything we do is geared around making it super easy for passengers to get to their destination.”
Aviation is underpinned by regional services, corporate jets and emergency services.
Regional flights to and from Essendon Airport have increased over the past two years.
Flights link Melbourne’s Essendon Airport with destinations including Flinders Island, Merimbula, Warrnambool, Portland, Burnie/Wynyard, King Island, Dubbo and Port Macquarie.
Sharp Airlines, Free Spirit Airlines and JETGO provide regional flights.
Essendon Fields’ vision is to become Australia’s premier corporate jet and regional services airport.
There are plans to re-launch the airport with a new name to increase awareness within Melbourne and beyond.
JETGO currently operates from a temporary facility until a $20 million overhaul to the nearby heritage-listed passenger terminal is complete. The refurbishment will make way for a modern design that acknowledges the past.
The terminal, formerly Melbourne’s main airport terminal, has not had a facelift since 1970.
The passengers here are the rock stars. Everything we do is geared around making it super easy for passengers to get to their destination.- CEO Chris Cowan
It will retain the regional terminal atmosphere, while incorporating commercial offices. The long-term car park, built in early 2016, needs expansion given the increase in use.
Mr Cowan said regional passengers were front and centre, which was a point of difference to other metropolitan airports. He said Essendon Fields had never been busier since privatisation in 2001.
“We are very aware of first impressions at the airport, we want to see passengers back again and we want them to spread the word,” Mr Cowan said.
DFO Essendon with its direct factory outlets is a popular spot to indulge in a spot of shopping before your flight.
The centre, with about 140 retailers and two food courts, boasts national and international brands including Coach, Armani, Hugo Boss, Furla the Cotton On Group and Melbourne’s only Polo Ralph Lauren.
DFO Essendon retail marketing manager Cassandra Geneopoulos said the centre has a mix of retailers which caters to sports fanatics to cosmetic and personal grooming needs, food needs and apparel.
“Our location, being so close to the airport, is very convenient,” she said.
DFO Essendon, at 100 Bulla Road in Essendon Fields, is within easy reach of both Essendon Airport and Melbourne Airport and 20 minutes from the Melbourne CBD.
Ms Geneopoulos said shoppers could negotiate DFO Essendon with ease as it is all on ground level.
Something for everyone: Indulge your love of shopping and grab a bargain at DFO Melbourne.
“You will get good deals constantly,” she said.
Shoppers are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes and luggage lockers are available for travellers.
“We get a lot of people before they fly out,” Ms Geneopoulos said.
“People come and shop, get their parking for free and they can then go and catch their flight.”
Ms Geneopoulos said DFO Essendon offered value for money and an easy shopping experience.
Essendon Fields has direct access to Tullamarine Freeway and is within 10km of the Melbourne CBD and 6.5km from Melbourne Airport.
Tram service 59 runs from Elizabeth Street in the CBD to the Airport West/Matthews Avenue stop, which is a short walk from the terminal. The closest train station, Essendon Station, is 10 minute drive or an easy connection via tram service 59. A free express airport shuttle bus connects to Essendon Station.
THERE has been a tremendously positive reaction to the direct Melbourne flights, JETGO’s Paul Bredereck says.
November 7 marked the first JETGO flight on the much anticipated new route.
JETGO managing director airlines Paul Bredereck said passenger numbers to date weren’t as strong as the airline would have expected.
“It’s early days yet and it’s a matter for people to get used to the fact there is a flight available,” he said.
“We just have to run to a reliable schedule for a period of time.”
The flights operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
An agreement between Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and JETGO paved the way for the Melbourne flights. Mr Bredereck said the flights were all better then half full.
The early flights experienced quite a few schedule disruptions due to unforeseen events including bad weather.
VOTED the world's most liveable city for five years in a row, Melbourne is sophisticated, edgy and stylish with super-friendly locals at the heart of its vibrant personality.
Fashion fiends and foodies alike will delight in Melbourne’s diverse offering and socialites can rest assured, there are plenty of events at which to see and be seen.
A recent retail renaissance has cemented the city as Australia’s fashion and retail capital.
Seven levels of glamorous shopping can be experienced at the new shopping mecca, Emporium, complementing the ‘hide and seek’ experience that can be enjoyed in Melbourne’s city laneways and arcades.
International brands, including luxury labels such as Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana, and high street fashion chains, such as H&M and Uniqlo, have chosen to open their flagship Australian stores in Melbourne.
The city is brimming with events all year round and particularly during spring and summer.
This is when the city truly comes alive.
Rooftop bars such as Goldilocks, Rooftop, Siglo and Madame Brussels become everyone’s favourite place to be. A host of great eateries ensure visitors and locals remain well fed and as always, Melbourne’s famed coffee culture will help visitors revive the morning after.
For those on the hunt for the best view in town, the Eureka SkyDeck experience is the perfect choice.
Melbourne Star also offer excellent views of the city, as does a helicopter flight over the city and surrounds.
Animal lovers will be in heaven at Melbourne Zoo, or for the best fix of Australian animals, Healesville Sanctuary just 50 minutes from the city is the place to go.
At Werribee Zoo, African animals have free range and visitors can take a safari through the grounds to see them up close.
Melbourne SeaLife Aquarium is home to an extensive selection of aquatic creatures, great and small.
Other attractions include Southbank, Federation Square, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sports lovers have no shortage of events from the Melbourne Cup to the Boxing Day Test and Australian Open.
And when it comes to making the most of a Melbourne holiday, visitors are advised to wear layers.
Melbourne's weather is notorious for its changeability, so layer up and pack an umbrella, sunglasses, thongs and a warm jacket.