Big things ahead at Melbourne Airport

The Melbourne Airport and Hume Residents Community Action Group. (Supplied)

Oliver Lees

Melbourne Airport has laid out its plan for the future, with a third runway anticipated to bring more noise, traffic and employment opportunities for those living in its surrounding areas.

The airport released its draft Master Plan and preliminary Major Development Plan on January 31, which elaborates on a long held ambition to construct another runway for domestic and international flights.

The draft Master Plan states that this will cost $1.9 billion and will take between four and five years to build.

But with a number of steps in the way before works commence, including a community consultation period and approval from the federal Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Minister Barnaby Joyce, the airport is anticipating the runway to be open “in the latter part of the decade”.

The airport expects the development to create an additional 37,000 jobs statewide, including 3200 onsite positions.

“Most of this increase in jobs will support employment in the local community,” the document stated.

The new runway will be constructed with a north-south orientation and will change the existing predominant flight paths that run around the clock.

An airport spokesperson explained that the direction was chosen to maximise flight availability and to capitalise on prevailing wind conditions.

However the design will also see greater noise interference across Hume, particularly in Bulla, as the township lies just north of the new runway.

The airport’s noise forecast maps in the draft Master Plan indicate that Bulla may experience 20 or more daily instances of aircraft noise greater than 70 decibels.

In a statement, the Hume Residents Airport Action Group encouraged the community to engage in the consultation process.

“Residents of neighbouring communities agree that aviation impact should be more broadly distributed and not concentrated to selected areas to achieve economic outcomes,” the statement read.

Community consultation will continue until May 16.