Site identification underway for new Melbourne airport

Melbourne to get a new airport
By @shauryaarya1 on
Melbourne airport
Two Qantas passenger jets are seen on the tarmac at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport December 16, 2009. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

Melbourne may get a new airport soon. The city’s south east region of Koo Wee Rup is being considered to serve as Melbourne’s new airport.

A pledge has been made to identify the land, which could cost up to $5 billion, in the next five years by the Andrews Government. The new airport is a supplementary addition to the principal international airport at Tullamarine and the secondary option at Avalon.

According to Melbourne Airport spokeswoman Carly Dixon, the south east of Victoria would serve as a preferred location to construct the new airport. “With long-term considerations such as land ownership, noise contours, flight paths and market access all to consider, we’re very supportive of moves to start that safeguarding process within the scope of this latest update to Plan Melbourne,” Dixon said.

Additionally, Melbourne’s new airport would cater to a third of the state’s population. It will also be located close to some of the popular tourist attractions like Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula.

The airport comes as a significant part of the government’s Plan Melbourne 2017-2050. “Melbourne Airport and Avalon Airport still have capacity to take more flights, but nevertheless we won’t make the same mistakes Sydney has made,” a spokesman for Planning Minister Richard Wynne said. “We need to plan ahead for aviation to avoid being blindsided as Victoria grows.”

The Government’s decision to identify a location for the new airport has been welcomed by the council, the Shire of Cardinia mayor Brett Owen said. “Our region will continue to experience significant growth over the coming years and SEM believes the development and operation of an airport will be a major economic and employment driver for our communities,” Owen said. “We also welcome the commitment by the State Government to incorporate a connection to the rail line at Clyde as part of their investigation into possible sites.”

However, the decision to have a third Melbourne airport was not approved by everyone. Infrastructure expert Dr Chris Hale has expressed his doubts about the need for another airport. "The experience of Avalon has not been particularly good over recent years," he said, speaking with 3AW Breakfast. "My latest understanding is they are running a plane a day at Avalon."

Glenn Leeman, owner of Bunyip River Meats in Koo Wee Rup, said the idea of a new airport was introduced before. "It always pops up every five, six years," he said.