Melbourne Airport’s plan to build a third runway will go on formal public exhibition tomorrow, with the community invited to provide feedback through until mid-May. 

The new 3000-metre runway will run parallel to the existing north-south runway and will increase the airport’s capacity by allowing for simultaneous arrivals and departures. 

Construction of the new runway will necessitate the shortening of the east-west runway and require changes to flight paths, with the airport launching an interactive noise tool that allows the community to explore future aircraft tracks, different operating modes and time of day comparisons. 

Despite the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry, Melbourne Airport expects annual passenger numbers will grow to more than 76 million by 2042. 

Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said the existing two-runway configuration was nearing capacity before the onset of the pandemic, and as aviation recovers the third runway will be essential to cope with future demand.  

“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 approved, it’s estimated the construction and operation of the third runway will create 37,000 jobs throughout Victoria and contribute an additional $4.6 billion per annum to gross state product by 2046. 

The formal public exhibition period for the preliminary draft 2022 Master Plan and preliminary draft Major Development Plan will run from February 1 until May 16. 

To view the airport’s plans, visit