Australian BizAv Ops Checklist – Part 1: Airport Considerations

PT 3 M minute read
Australian BizAv Ops Checklist – Part 1: Airport Considerations

This is a post by author Tony King. Tony is the managing director at Universal Aviation Australia – Sydney. Tony is an expert on business aircraft operations in Australia and can be contacted at

This is part one of a four-article series on items to consider when traveling to Australia.

Operators to Australia have their choice of many full-service airport locations, some with Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs). There are, however, a number of operating and planning considerations to keep in mind. Requirements – for airport hours and curfews; Customs, Immigration, and Quarantine (CIQ); and slots, among other things – differ considerably.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Sydney Int.’l

Airport slots are required for all arrivals/departures at Sydney (YSSY). Obtaining slots is generally not an issue, except between 0600 and 0800 local following the night curfew backlog. There are two full-service FBOs at YSSY that handle general aviation aircraft. However, overnight parking for any aircraft larger than a GLEX/G550 can be an issue at this location, so it’s recommended that you speak to your 3rd-party provider regarding your parking needs.

2. Melbourne Int.’l

Melbourne Int.’l (YMML) is the major commercial airport for Melbourne. The advantages of landing here are that the airport and CIQ operate 24/7, no airport slots are required, and contract fuel pricing is often better than at Melbourne Essendon (YMEN). Be aware, however, that if you land with more than 10 passengers, CIQ will be processed in the main terminal, not at the FBO.

3. Melbourne Essendon

YMEN is a popular and user-friendly corporate airport serving the Melbourne area. This location offers three FBOs and full aircraft support services and is located closer to downtown than YMML. There are, however, certain operating challenges to consider at this location. YMEN is a restricted airport of entry, and airport slots are required when Melbourne-area weather is bad. Local CIQ will not clear more than nine people (passengers and crew members) per aircraft. So, if you have a higher passenger count, you may need to operate into YMML, to clear CIQ, and then reposition to YMEN. For all CIQ clearances at YMEN, advance notification is always necessary as CIQ officers must travel out to the airport.

4. Gold Coast/Coolangatta

Gold Coast (YBCG) has one full-service FBO with hangar space for GLF4-sized aircraft and ramp parking for up to GLEX/GLF650-sized equipment. CIQ is available at this location 0600-1900 local, and overtime is possible with prior notice and approval. Your 3rd-party provider and/or ground handler can set up CIQ clearance at the FBO, with prior notice and subject to CIQ staffing resources. In the event CIQ clearance is not possible at the FBO, passengers/crew members will be processed at the main terminal, with the aircraft parked at Bay 16.

5. Cairns

Cairns (YBCS) has one FBO, but the airport authority does not permit international arrivals/departures from this facility. All international operations must take place at the international terminal, so you’ll need to reposition your aircraft to the CIQ location for arrival/departure. Be aware that aircraft parking at the YBCS FBO is limited and you’ll most likely be parked on a Cairns Airport-designated taxiway.

6. Additional reading: Australian BizAv Ops Checklist – Series Index

Note: Links will be updated as articles are published.

Closing thoughts

When operating to Australia, be mindful of advance planning and notification requirements for aircraft services, airport slots, parking, and CIQ clearance. Your ground handler can help streamline the arrival/departure process, assuming all applicable information and documentation have been forwarded in advance.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Australia, contact me at

Later, we’ll discuss permit and slot considerations for operations to Australia.

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