Melbourne Airport has announced the preferred orientation for its third runway which the airport forecasts will be required by the end of the decade to meet demand.  The airport is proposing an additional east-west runway which will be included in the airports draft Master Plan to be published in early 2013.

Melbourne Airport forecasts passenger numbers to reach 40 million by the end of the decade and more than 60 million by 2033.

The proposed third runway will operate in parallel to the existing east-west runway (RWY 09/27) as well as the existing north-south runway (RWY 16/34). The new runway will be approximately 3000 metres in length and 60 metres wide. It will be capable of handling aircraft up to the size of an A380.

A range of criteria had been assessed in making the decision to select the east-west runway orientation. These included the capacity the runway provided to cater for future demand; community and environmental impacts; operational requirements and the cost of construction.

The proposed east-west runway would have a capital cost of around $500 million.

The ‘noise contours’ for Melbourne Airport will be updated in the 2013 draft Master Plan to reflect the proposed third runway.

The proposed third runway will be shown in the draft Master Plan for Melbourne Airport, which will be submitted, to the Commonwealth Government for approval in 2013. This is a requirement of the Commonwealth Airports Act 1996. The draft Master Plan, including the updated noise contours, will be issued for public consultation in the first quarter of 2013. Following the public comment period, the draft master plan is submitted to the Commonwealth Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. When approved, the Master Plan sets out the future development of the airport over the next two decades.

The construction of a third runway will require a separate planning, consultation and approval process, which is expected to be carried out by 2015/16. A new runway would have a construction timeframe of two to four years, with the new runway proposed to be operational around 2018-2022.

 Melbourne Airport have advised the third runway would be part of a program of investment of up to $10 billion over the next two decades in the growth of Melbourne Airport as the aviation gateway to Victoria and south-eastern Australia.

An economic and social impact study conducted for the draft Master Plan found that Melbourne Airport currently supports 14,300 jobs and contributes $1.47 billion to Victoria’s Gross State Product.

By 2033, the number of jobs directly related to Melbourne Airport’s operations will grow to 23,000 and the airport’s contribution to GSP will have more than doubled to $3.2 billion. The value of spending by interstate and international visitors who travel through Melbourne Airport will grow from $8.3 billion in 2012 to $18.5 billion in 2033. for the Melb ourne Airport media release.