Melbourne Airport (MEL) in the Australian state of Victoria has unveiled its plans to build a new 3,000m third runway at its facility.

Its new runway proposal will be showcased at a formal exhibition today and the community will be invited to offer their feedback until mid-May.

MEL intends to build the third runway parallel to the existing north-south runway with an objective to increase the airport’s capacity by facilitating arrivals and departures. 

The proposal of creating the new runway would require shortening the existing east-west runway and changes to flight paths.

MEL’s new interactive noise tool will enable the community to explore future aircraft tracks, different operating modes and time-of-day comparisons. 

Despite the Covid-19 impact on the aviation sector, MEL anticipates an increase in annual passenger numbers by more than 76 million by 2042. 

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Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said: “Prior to Covid-19, airlines and their customers frequently experienced delays in peak periods due to the airport’s congested cross-runway system,” he said.  

“Having a parallel runway approved soon is critical so we can cater to Victoria’s future tourism, freight and population needs. The approvals process can take a number of years, with construction expected to take another four to five years, which is why we are moving forward with the proposal now.  

“The third runway will deliver significant economic benefits to the state by enabling more interstate and overseas travellers to visit Victoria while securing our position as one of the largest cargo hubs in Australia.”  

If the proposed runway gets the go-ahead, it is expected to create 37,000 jobs throughout the state.

It is also expected to contribute an additional $3.28bn (A$4.6bn) annually to gross state product by 2046. 

Last month, MEL said that it aims to reach net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025.