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.
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.
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.