Australia’s Melbourne Airport has made the decision to switch the alignment of its third runway from east-west to north-south.

The proposed new runway will now run parallel to the airport’s existing main runway.

In 2012, Melbourne Airport unveiled plans to build an east-west runway. However, in June this year, the plan was reversed after a report suggested that changing the direction to north-south could provide greater capacity.

Australian Pacific Airports Corporation (APAC), which owns the airport, cited new weather data and argued that an east-west orientation will allow the airport to handle a greater number of aircraft.

Melbourne Airport said that it will carry out wide-ranging modelling, assessment and development of approval documentation over the next 12 – 18 months.

It aims to publish the Preliminary Draft Major Development Plan (MDP) in early 2021 for public comment.

The new 3,000m long runway will cater to Victoria’s increasing passenger traffic.

The construction of the runway is expected to create up to 400 new jobs and lead to an increase in airport employment from 20,600 to 35,000 personnel.

By 2043, it is expected to bring an additional A$16.8bn ($11.48bn) income to the state per year.

Last month, Melbourne Airport announced that its international arrivals hall will undergo renovation to accommodate the airport’s increasing international passenger numbers.

In June, Melbourne Airport started the construction of a new taxiway to improve plane movements, expand services and boost the number of passengers.

Known as ‘Taxiway Zulu’, the facility will be constructed with an investment of A$300m ($209.6m). This is claimed to be the largest airfield investment project since the opening of the airport in 1970.