Melbourne Airport gears up for expansion, but no international terminal upgrade in sight

It's been an eventful week or so at Melbourne Airport.

Another new international carrier has inaugurated a service linking regional China with Melbourne, the rail link is back in the news and last week the annual Stakeholder Report for 2016 was held. Largely an event held to inform investors, key details on the airport's upcoming landside and airside projects were outlined, as well as its strategic vision for the future.

Missing completely from the hour long presentation was any mention of Australia Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC) Limited's intentions to overhaul the international terminal, as was outlined during the equivalent 2014 presentation.

Dating back to the airport's inception during 1970, Terminal 2 was slated for a regeneration project which was at the time dubbed 'Market Place'. The cavernous new international terminal space looks to have been placed on the back-burner, even though Melbourne is witnessing unprecedented levels of international travel demand.

2014 artist's impression of the overhauled T2. Image: APAC Limited

On the back of strong Chinese tourist growth, Melbourne Airport witnessed an international capacity jump of 7% over the last year, with actual international passenger numbers increasing 9.5% to roughly 9 million. The figures will further balloon in coming weeks and months, with an average of 5-6 new international flights per day already announced by a variety of operators during the coming summer schedule.

Those out there who regularly use Terminal 2 will understand how difficult the arrivals process can be during the morning international peak period, and will be somewhat relieved to know that more subdued works are still planned within Terminal 2.

Alleviating the stresses within the international arrivals hall will see both pre and post customs areas taking on a new look, as seen below.

A new Arrivals experience. Image: APAC Limited

The presentation also shed further light upon APAC Limited's intentions to expand Melbourne Airport's runway capacity, beginning with an extension of the existing east–west runway, and followed by a new parallel east–west runway which will in time become one of the largest projects delivered since the airport's inception.

APAC Limited are also ramping up their diversification of uses across the wider Melbourne Airport precinct. A new surf park on the facility's perimiter will draw non-aviation patrons to the precinct and is expected to be operational during 2018.

Strong passenger numbers have also seen APAC Limited increase their rhetoric regarding a new airport hotel, while imagery during the presentation depicts a new mid-rise commercial precinct surrounding Gowrie Park Drive, east of the current Holiday Inn. This area has been vacant and underutilised for well over a decade.

According to the presentation, Melbourne Airport expects to handle 40 million passengers by 2023.

A diversified new commercial precinct within Melbourne Airport. Image: APAC Limited


Adrian's picture

So much like the East-West Link one of the most overdue and vital pieces of infrastructure in Melbourne - an updated arrival on-ramp from the 1960's one that still exists there - is on the back-burner again. Not that it ever really was on the front-burner.

Looks like those traffic snarls back to Mickelham Rd will be with us for another 10 years at least ..

I'm sure plenty more overpasses to feed new carparks like the ones that have been built for T4 will be built though.

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Chris Seals's picture

Car parks make money, big money, this Neoliberalism will be our downfall big bucks means
carparks after carparks built in order to churn out the dollars, In fact I will go out on a limb here and say I think the connecting light rail will be a long way off.

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Melbourne Muse's picture

These APAC Ltd guys are a cheap, short-sighted joke. Have you used T4 yet? No travellators with flight lounges seemingly a full kilometre from the terminal proper. Who builds a brand new airport terminal with no travellators and no sky bridge linkages so you then have to (dis)embark via the tarmac. CHEAP!!!

Marvelous Mega-Melbourne

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