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    Melbourne Airport has a Category III B rating on runway 16/34, which allows it to handle aircraft during severe fog, meaning it has very little impact on flight arrivals or departures at Melbourne Airport. To help you understand how, we've explained our procedures in more detail in our FAQs below.


    Have a question about Melbourne Airport?  Our FAQ might help.

    What effect does fog have on Melbourne Airport?

    Heavy fog has little effect on operations at Melbourne Airport as runway 16/34 has a Category III B rating.

    What does Category III B mean?

    This means Melbourne Airport has the precision approach and landing infrastructure in place that is required to guide aircraft during low visibility conditions on runway 16/34.

    Aircraft can take-off and land in Melbourne with a runway visual range of up to 50 metres and cloud base of up to 15 metres.

    Melbourne Airport is currently one of the only airports in Australia with a Category III B rating.

    What does a Category III B system consist of?

    Melbourne’s Category III B system is supported by the following infrastructure to assist pilots and air traffic control;

    • Instrument Landing System (ILS).
    • Enhanced Runway Lighting including touch down zone lighting, centreline lighting, stop bars and also a High Intensity Approach Lighting system.
    • Runway Visual Range Indicators.
    • Back Up power equipment and

    Veehlo tracking devices on vehicles and aircraft transponders to assist air traffic control in monitoring movements in poor visibility conditions.

    If aircraft can land at Melbourne then why do airlines cancel or divert their services when there is heavy fog?

    Aircraft and pilots must be authorised to use a Category III B system. If they do not have the rating, they cannot land and this can cause airlines to delay or cancel services.

    Each airline must apply to CASA for approval to conduct Category III B operations. Aircraft must be equipped for Category IIIB operations and pilots need to be qualified to conduct a Category III B approach.
    Most international aircraft and pilots have been granted with a Category III B rating, which is why international services experience less disruption.

    Who decides if aircraft can land during heavy fog?

    Airservices Australia control 11 per cent of the world’s airspace including all operations in Australia and they issue warnings which informs how airports operate under safety guidelines.