Melbourne Airport, recently celebrating 20 years since privatisation, is on its way to becoming Australia’s biggest airport as passenger numbers grow with Melbourne’s population.

On track to be Australia’s biggest city – by some estimates as soon as 2029 – Melbourne is experiencing a rapid surge in building infrastructure and improving and upgrading existing services and facilities to cope with expected growth.

At least $500 million will be spent each year to improve, maintain and grow the airport, to ensure this essential piece of Victorian infrastructure can meet demands while constantly striving for the ultimate passenger experience, according to chief executive Lyell Strambi.

“International travel has seen significant growth in the past 20 years, with one in three passengers now travelling internationally, compared to one in seven in 1997,” he says. “What’s really exciting for us today is looking at the next 20-year horizon and planning what comes next. To start with, passenger numbers can be expected to double again in that time.”

Melbourne Airport is a major centre for employment, and a strong player in the Victorian economy.

About 16,000 people are employed at the airport, with two thirds of these roles filled by residents who live within a 15-kilometre radius. The airport also supports another 43,000 jobs indirectly.

For every international flight that lands at Melbourne Airport, about $240,000 is invested into the Victorian economy through visitor spending, and the airport contributes almost $1.5 billion in gross state product each year.

“It’s crucial that the airport is never a constraint on Melbourne’s, or Victoria’s, prosperity,” Mr Strambi says.

A major development plan is in progress for the Commonwealth Government to approve the construction of a new runway and extend the existing east-west runway.

“To set us up for the next 20 years’ growth we need runway capacity,” Mr Strambi says.

“A new runway, along with improvements to the capabilities of existing runways and taxiways, is vital infrastructure that will facilitate continued growth in airline services.”

Improving the passenger experience within the terminal is also a priority.

“We need to continue investing in terminal capacity. We’ll be investing in additional automation, helping to streamline check-in and immigration processes by removing queues.

“And realistically, we’re going to have to start talking about adding a fifth terminal.”

Work is soon to begin on redeveloping the T2 departures concourse and international arrivals hall. The new T2 luxury retail precinct is set to open later this year.

“We need to make sure the traveller journey through the airport is as seamless and enjoyable as the rest of the trip.”

Find out more about Melbourne Airport at and look out for the community engagement team at shopping centres and events near you.


Questions can be directed to the community hotline 9297 1597 – or email