Melbourne Airport's 2013 Master Plan, which sets out the airport's strategic direction for the next 20 years, has been approved by the Federal Government. The approval, however, does not signal the go-ahead for a third runway, which has been the object of significant community interest.

Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss said the Master Plan proposes significant infrastructure developments, including upgrades to airfield facilities, new aircraft movement areas and improved road and transport networks, to accommodate expected growth in passenger and aircraft movements.

“Melbourne Airport is a vital gateway for Victoria and Australia, playing a major role in Victoria’s economy,” Truss said. “Today the airport supports 14,300 direct jobs and some 43,000 jobs indirectly, while contributing $1.47 billion a year to Victoria’s Gross State Product (GSP).”

“The aviation sector plays a critical role in building a strong national economy. Melbourne Airport’s 2013 Master Plan outlines infrastructure investments that will result in substantial benefits to the local, regional, state and national economies.”

The continued development of the airport is expected to see employment surge to 23,000 direct jobs and over 72,000 indirect jobs, while the airport’s contribution to Victoria’s GSP is anticipated to more than double to approximately $3.21 billion a year by 2033.

With respect to the third runway, Truss said a decision would only be made after Melbourne Airport undertakes a detailed planning, design and regulatory approval process, which includes community consultation and examination of environmental impacts including from aircraft noise.

Warren Truss

Warren Truss

The proposed new runway will be approximately 3000 metres long and 60 metres wide, and will be capable of handling the world’s largest passenger aircraft, the Airbus A380.

The environmental plus from a development perspective, the airport argues, would be that aircraft would spend less time on the ground taxiing to and from terminals and planes would burn less fuel due to more direct flight paths and shorter trips from the gate to the runway.

Melbourne Airport CEO Chris Woodruff said the Master Plan was a significant document for the airport’s future.

“The development of the Master Plan has been a two year process and we are delighted that the Minister has approved our vision for Victoria’s aviation gateway,” he said. “Over the last two years we have worked with many stakeholders including industry, airlines and all levels of government as we developed this significant document. We have also had robust discussions with the community, particularly in regard to the third runway, and we will continue to have these discussions as we work through the approval process for the third runway.”

Melbourne Airport held 32 public meetings and information sessions and more than 100 briefings in addition to advertisements, fact sheets, website and social media communications. During the public consultation period, 86 public submissions were received.

The Master Plan forecasts that Melbourne Airport will more than double its passengers to 64 million by 2033.

Melbourne Airport will now finalise details of the Master Plan document with the Federal Government and publish it on the airport’s website.