Airport West is a residential and industrial suburb, triangular shaped, next to the western boundary of the airport at Essendon. It is 12 km north-west of central Melbourne, bounded by the Tullamarine and Calder Freeways and the Albion to Jacana freight railway line.
Residential settlement began in the mid-1950s when a tramline ran along part of its eastern boundary. A primary school, Parklands, was opened in 1958, and within a year a shopping centre with about 30 shops was established. Both were in McNamara Avenue. The shops included a post office (1960), at that time named Niddrie North. The Niddrie primary and high schools, on Airport West’s southern boundary opened in 1961, and a Catholic primary school opened in 1962. Steele Creek passes through Airport West and a linear park runs along both sides of it.
At the apex of the triangular suburb the Airport West (Westfield) shoppingtown was opened in 1976. With an area of 60,000 sq metres it had three discount department stores, three supermarkets, 100 other shops and a cinema. The tram service terminates within a short walk of the shoppingtown and there is a large bus interchange there. The local shopping centre continues, although Parklands primary school closed in 1993.
Airport West has a community centre, Catholic and Uniting churches and two recreation reserves. Its census populations have been:
Airport West has a substantial Italian population and Catholic residents were 49.6% of all residents who recorded a religious affiliation in the 2011 census.
Christine Laskowski, Steele Creek and the Lady of the Lake, 2013