A new FBO facility that aims to become the gateway to Australasia will open soon in Melbourne later this year.

Australian entrepreneur Paul Little’s property and transportation conglomerate Little Group is promoting the new Melbourne Jet Base here at ABACE (Booth H1532).

Little Group moved into business aviation in July 2014 when it bought two large hangars at Melbourne’s international airport,n also known as Tullamarine Airport. Then two years ago it built a business aviation lounge inside one of the hangars and established a fixed base operation (FBO) there.

Last year Melbourne Jet Base handled over 1,000 business jets and it expects 50% more traffic this year wih the opening of the new facility.

Murray Rance, CEO of Melbourne Jet Base, says the new FBO includes a purpose-built two-storey terminal building and an underground carpark.

Company’s founder and owner Paul Little flies a Gulfstream G650 internationally so he is and is familiar with overseas FBOs. “It was Paul’s vision and he said he thinks Melbourne should have a world-class business aviation center,” says Rance.

Melbourne’s main centre for business aviation currently is Essendon Airport, about 10 minutes drive from Tullamarine and closer to the city center. Coincidentally Essendon Airport is owned by another of Australia’s transport and logistics tycoons Lindsay Fox, owner of Linfox.

Rance says Essendon Airport, located within a densely populated residential suburb, is subject to night curfews whereas Tullamarine is 24/7. He adds that jet fuel is 20% cheaper at Tullamarine, which also has longer runways that enable all the longer range, large-cabin business jets to take off from there with a full fuel.

Little Group has no plans to move into aircraft maintenance business, but it has reached an agreement with Execujet to provide MRO services at Melbourne Jet Base.