A Preliminary Draft Master Plan (PDMP) published for comment this week has flagged further loss of main apron space at Moorabbin Airport.
Tenants were shocked last year as Moorabbin Airport Corporation (MAC) issued six-month eviction notices ahead of the western part of the apron and taxiway being redeveloped for commercial use, resulting in loss of businesses, hangars and aircraft parking spaces.
The 2021 PDMP heralds further loss of the main apron as MAC expands its industrial precinct on the airport's western boundary, threatening several well-established aviation businesses.
According to the PDMP, the land-use concept outlined is based around MAC's aviation objectives.
"Consistent with prior Master Plans, land use in Master Plan 2021 is framed around aviation objectives and activities. Precincts are planned in response to safety, airspace, our flight training role and aviation infrastructure," MAC says in the PDMP.
"Airport land identified for non-aviation purposes rings aviation land and as it is developed renews and upgrades legacy infrastructure for benefit of aviation and non-aviation customers."
The master plan states that 44 hectares of land may be developed for non-aviation purposes over the next eight years, leaving 40 hectares for aviation support businesses. MAC also states it intends to increase the movement areas by 10,000 sqm, redesign the layout to provide more airside sites, move infrastructure closer to the runways and develop facilities at the northern apron for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) companies.
Organisations that stand to lose premises when the western end of the main apron is transferred from the airside zone to the landside zone include Tristar Aviation and Moorabbin Flying Services, both of which have made substantial investments in their respective operations.
Tristar Aviation's Geoff Fleming said the PDMP cast a shadow over the school's future, but the aviation community was rallying around them.
"The support from the wider aviation community has been amazing," he told Australian Flying. "This is our 29th year in business at Moorabbin Airport and even after last year's COVID lockdown, business in increasing.
"At the moment we have no idea as to whether there are any alternative plans for our relocation."
MAC is projecting an increase in movements from 286,000 to 375,000 by the end of the planning period, 90% of which is flight training. CAE Oxford is thought to account for 25% of all training movements. MAC has invested $17 million in aviation support, including a $10 million facility for CAE.
MAC also has stated that aircraft parking for up to 720 aircraft could be possible over the life of the master plan, although some of that is planned for the triangle of land between the thresholds of runways 35 and 31, which tenants on the airport have labeled as impractical and dangerous.
The preliminary draft master plan has been published on the MAC website and is open for comments until 12 July, after which the document must be approved by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport before it comes into effect.
Moorabbin Airport Chamber of Commerce Inc. (MACCI) has encouraged all airport tenants to respond to the PDMP after the 2015 plan attracted only six submissions.