Fuelling up the next 100 years at Essendon Fields

The operation of a successful airport brings together many moving parts, but one critical aspect often gets overlooked – safe and efficient aircraft refuelling.

When it comes to jet fuel, Essendon Fields has the most state of the art refuelling facility in Australia, with the Air BP facility opening just four years ago. The operator of this facility, Craddock Aviation, illustrates just how success follows innately from the determination and drive of a family-owned business.

Craddock Aviation is operated by the father and son team of Colin and Brendan Craddock. Colin has worked for BP in the aviation refuelling business for 16 years and Brendan now leads the operations based at Essendon Fields.

When Colin first started his company at Moorabbin Airport he was a relatively small operator, but through hard work and good service he grew the business. When the opportunity came about to operate the Air BP jet fuelling station at Essendon Fields Airport, Craddock Aviation jumped at the chance.

For Colin it’s an extra special pleasure running a business he loves with his son.

“I actually went into business with my father many years ago when he ran a mechanical and panel beating workshop, so when the opportunity to also include my son Brendan in the aviation business I jumped at the chance. I’ve managed to build up Craddock Aviation from something small to a much larger organisation and we both love working with Air BP,’’ Colin said.

Brendan remembers his first introduction to Craddock Aviation when he completed year 10 work education at the airport.

“It was always a dream to be able to work with dad and become one of the team at Craddock Aviation. We couldn’t be happier now with the affiliation with Air BP and Essendon Fields,’’ Brendan said.

Colin is especially proud of the operations at Essendon Fields.

“The 100-year celebration is a big deal for Essendon Fields. It’s a monumental achievement. I can remember as a seven-year-old kid watching the Beatles arrive at Essendon Airport on TV and now I get to work around that same terminal building, and the location where they arrived has been fully renovated outside of Sharp Airlines. That’s real history for you,’’ Colin said.

Brendan agrees: “We are also very excited about the EF centenary. The water tower with the sign highlighting the airport’s 100 years is right outside our office so we think about it every day. We’ve heard about some of the plans to celebrate the anniversary and we look forward to participating.’’

Both Colin and Brendan are also excited about the possibility that a third generation Craddock might one day be part of the business. Brendan’s daughter Chelsie and his partner Stacey’s daughter Summer also both enjoy the excitement of spending time around airport – even if it’s just watching aircraft land and take off.

Colin would welcome the next generation into his business.

“It’s a very safe business. In fact as aircraft refuellers our main priority is to ensure the grade and quality of the fuel which we test in the tanks and the trucks before we go out to the aircraft and we ensure that’s tested every day. Only when we know the fuel is safe will we refuel the aircraft,’’ he said.

For more information on Essendon Airport’s centenary, please visit www.ef100.com.au.