Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport has revealed an A$3.5bn redevelopment plan that includes the construction of a new runway, an expanded international terminal and a transport hub, in an effort to meet the increase in passenger traffic expected for the coming decades.
“The vision for the terminal is to get to 100 million passengers, so to be able to meet that 70 million passengers by 2038 we absolutely need another runway, that is part of the planning,” Melbourne Airport parking and ground access chief Lorie Argus told 3AW.
Argus said that the airport will launch a consultation with the community airlines about the project, which will also overhaul how passengers reach and leave the airport. He added: “For anyone who arrives into Melbourne today, that area the arrivals hall is quite constrained, so we’re looking at a large expansion there of the international terminal to really bring us up to the world’s best class.
“We’re looking at a completely new transport hub which will see all of the pick-up and drop off integrated into the front of the terminal, actually using some of the car park you see today in T1, 2, 3.”
Melbourne Airport said it is expecting 68 million visitors a year by 2038, having registered over 30 million passengers and around 250,000 tonnes of freight in 2016/2017.
Melbourne Airport chief executive Lyell Strambi told ABC Radio Melbourne that the first changes will be seen within 12 months, when moving walkways will be installed in some parts of the airport.
“The scheme is to really have flyovers all the way from the Tullamarine Freeway, sweeping by the various terminals and then having them run off to each of these terminals,” he said.
As part of the project, a 3km third runway is to open by 2023, while the existing east-west runway will be extended in the next nine years. A fourth runway, running north-south, is also included in the scheme, meaning the airport will be able to handle 100 departures and arrivals every hour. Strambi added that the plan will be entirely funded by private enterprise and will not receive the government’s financial support.
However, the hub failed to provide information on the construction of a rail link to the airport, which both the federal and state governments have recently been pushing for.
The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), one of the rail link’s loudest advocates, expressed disappointment towards the lack of a plan. “With growing numbers of travellers, and tens of thousands of workers in the airport precinct, this is one of the biggest employment centres in Melbourne with no high capacity public transport,” said PTUA spokesman Daniel Bowen.
“Tullamarine is one of the world’s busiest airports with no rail link, so it’s no surprise that despite repeated road upgrades, traffic congestion is a continuing problem.”
A spokesperson for Victorian Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said that the state was “working constructively with the Commonwealth on a preliminary business case” for the construction of a rail link between the city and Tullamarine Airport.