Passengers travelling through Melbourne Airport over the June school holidays should plan to arrive 1-2 hours before a domestic flight and 2-3 hours before an international flight, with the airport expecting its busiest days since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 2.1 million people are predicted to pass through Melbourne Airport’s terminals between June 24 and July 17, with airlines forecasting 1.6 million domestic travellers and 447,000 international passengers.

That figure is significantly higher than the more than 1.7 million passengers processed over the three-week Easter holiday period, with international traveller numbers up 77 per cent.

Passengers should also be aware of significant construction work around the airport, particularly in Terminal 1, with some regular retail outlets closed to allow for a major upgrade. Pop-up options have been installed to take their place, including walkways before the departure gates.

Lorie Argus, Melbourne Airport’s Appointed CEO, said departing passengers should plan to leave plenty of time before their flight to avoid unnecessary stress.

“We encourage people to allow time to get to the airport, check in and go through security, as there may be queues, particularly at peak travel times,” she said.

“Equally, we’d ask people don’t arrive too early, because some airlines don’t open check-in until two hours before a domestic departure and three hours prior to an international flight.

“The aviation industry is still working to rebuild our workforce following the pandemic, and staffing remains an issue for some operators, particularly in baggage and ground handling.

“During this busy period, we ask people to be respectful of one another and our staff as we work to get you where you need to be as quickly and safely as possible.”

To help facilitate smooth holiday travel for passengers Melbourne Airport is taking the following steps:

• Increased shift coverage at security screening points
• Strategic aircraft bay allocation to spread passenger loads and reduce congestion at checkpoints
• Extra technicians to address infrastructure issues quickly
• Additional cleaning with a focus on bathrooms, waste and loose litter
• Extra customer service staff at car parks