Melbourne Airport has determined that a third runway, built in a north-south orientation, would provide the greatest benefits to the airport and to the state.
Melbourne Airport will now start preparing a Preliminary Draft Major Development Plan for consideration by the Federal Government.
The decision follows an extensive planning review, which found a north-south runway could provide a superior outcome in terms of availability, capacity, long-term investment profile and community impacts.
A widespread community engagement program was also completed, including face-to-face consultation, group workshops and online engagement, involving thousands of community members and stakeholders  
Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi explained Australia’s busiest 24/7 airport needed a third runway to meet demand.
“A third runway is essential for Melbourne Airport to cater for forecast passenger growth over the next two decades, which will see us grow from welcoming more than 37 million people a year to almost 70 million per year by 2038,” said Mr Strambi.
“The third runway will ensure Melbourne Airport can keep pace with Melbourne’s increasing popularity as an international tourism destination, in addition to supporting the nation’s fastest growing population.
“It would also create new opportunities for travellers, such as additional international destinations to visit and more frequent flights. Ultimately, our goal is to secure more airlines flying to more destinations, more often.
“Importantly, the additional runway will reduce delays for travellers both locally and across the nation’s entire aviation network.
“The runway will drive a new wave of economic activity for Victoria, as much as an additional $16.8 billion per annum to gross state product by 2043.
“We understand that our decision affects residents living in the airport’s surrounding municipalities and we will continue to communicate and listen to the community throughout the life of the runway project.”