Planning for Melbourne Airport has included four runways since the 1960s, but plans for construction of its third proposed east-west runway are now subject to further government consultation.
The change in the new runway’s alignment is likely to cause a delay in construction, although airport chief executive Lyell Strambi still says the new runway could be open by 2025 “at worst”.
“We have undertaken a planning review over the last six months to assess whether east-west remains the preferred option for the third runway,” Strambi said.
“Our review provides strong evidence to suggest the north-south parallel could now provide a superior outcome in terms of availability, capacity, long-term investment profile and community impacts.”
Melbourne airport has been working toward a parallel east-west runway since 2013.
More than 35 million passengers used Melbourne airport in 2016-2017. Melbourne Airport’s masterplan forecasts it will reach maximum capacity as early as next year, and that it will be hit with delays if a new runway is not operational by 2023.
“It’s important to be clear that at this stage there has been no decision to change the direction of the runway,” Strambi said.
“Instead, we will enter a period of technical consultation with our airline customers, the federal government, regulatory bodies and other stakeholders to inform our final decision.
“Planning for Melbourne Airport has included four runways since the 1960s and the double parallel ‘hashtag’ layout has been in place since 1990.”
The airport says it will spend the next three months evaluating its data before making its final decision.
Meanwhile, the new $250 million Fender Katsalidis-designed hotel development at Melbourne Airport was green-lit by the federal government.
The seven-storey L-shaped hotel, owned by the Accor group, will be branded Ibis Styles and Novotel, located in proximity to Melbourne Airport.