Melbourne looks to Indian market amid expansion programme

05 March 2019
Lyell Strambi, managing director and CEO of Melbourne Airport, pictured with the ICC T20 World Cup trophies. Source: Neelam Mathews

Melbourne Airport in Australia has begun work on its development plans for the next three years. “Most of the Request for Proposals for infrastructure development for the airport are already out,” managing director and CEO Lyell Strambi told Jane’s during a recent visit to India.

He explained the three-year plan includes a year for obtaining federal government approvals, another for design, and a final 12 months for construction by a consortium of builders.

Under the AUD3.5 billion (USD2.5 billion) project, a 3,000 m-long third runway is planned to open by 2023–24. The international terminal will be expanded to cater for passenger traffic that Strambli expects will soar from 36.92 million in 2018 to 67.8 million by 2038. Growth has already led to road traffic congestion near the airport. “That means we have to build more runways, terminals, and access roads to airports. We are working with the government to build a [delayed] rail link,” he added.

To tackle the problem, an elevated loop road network will separate public traffic from commercial transport operators, while making pedestrian access to the terminals safer and more convenient.

An upgrade of the check-in hall in Terminal 2 began in November 2017, and self-service check-in kiosks will be rolled out as standard throughout the airport. The international check-in hall will also undergo a full transformation with more self-service equipment, bag-tag kiosks, and biometric technology.

Inside the terminals, self-service gates with facial recognition technology for passenger processing are in use at Melbourne and other Australian international airports. Portugal-based Vision-Box was awarded a contract by the federal government in 2017 to provide biometric SmartGates for departures, and Strambi said Melbourne is upgrading its biometric e-gates for arriving passengers. “We want [passengers] to use biometrics throughout the airport,” he added, “from check-in to customs and at the aircraft [boarding] gate itself .… This saves time and money [in terms of labour costs].”

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