Inside the Execujet hangar at Essendon: PR photo

Next time you are using Melbourne’s main airport at Tullamarine take a closer look at Essendon Airport which is about seven kilometres down the freeway while heading into the city.

Essendon is getting bigger and busier with the exclusive end of the business travel market, the corporate jet end, where you don’t check in up to an hour before the flight if your company is into the Jetstar or Tiger experience in order to save on the travel budget.

No way. Essendon is where the jet leaves when you want it to!

Execujet has just announced it is expanding its facility at the privately owned airport by 25 per cent in the near future to cope with resurgent demand from what is the rich rather than big end of town, for those who don’t care what a fare costs, and who use the small sleek jets that come in a range of marques, some of them capable of flying all the way to Los Angeles in less time than a commercial airliner even after stopping for fuel at Honolulu on the way.

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Mainline domestic carriers, back in the hey days of Ansett-ANA and TAA, moved from Essendon to Tullamarine in 1971, which had opened to international jets a year earlier. The courteous, pleasant and even well dressed experience of domestic flight in the era of the Vickers Viscounts, Lockheed Electras and early Boeing 727s is captured in this classic photo by the late Melbourne photographer Wolfgang Sievers.

While corporate jets may taunt regular sky warriors with a glimpse of what business flying could really be like if money was not a problem, their proliferation after a short period of unpopularity is also a reminder to Qantas and Virgin Blue that the really valuable top dollar chairman and CEO level in business travel doesn’t necessarily require their services at all.

Private and corporate jets took a hammering during the GFC. Now they are back, according to companies like Execujet, which you’d expect them to say, except that if it wasn’t the case they wouldn’t be investing in the expansion.

So it must be true.