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Melbourne Airport agrees to above-ground rail link to support doubling of travellers

Melbourne Airport has backed the creation of an overground train station as it prioritises support for a “massive increase” in expected passenger numbers.

Melbourne Airport has backed the creation of an overground train station as it prioritises support for a “massive increase” in expected passenger numbers.

The Victorian hub, Australia’s busiest 24/7 airport, initially wanted an underground station for the proposed airport rail line. 

But the airport says Victorians shouldn’t have to put up with any further delays in getting on with the sorely needed project, an initiative expected to support millions of extra passengers when the airport opens its third runway.      

“Victorians have waited long enough for an airport rail line,” Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said. 

“We will work with the Victorian Government to deliver their preferred above-ground station at the airport so the rail line can become reality.”

“With an estimated 45 million travellers a year predicted to be using our airport when the third runway opens, the rail link will support a massive increase in passenger numbers and billions of dollars in additional economic activity for Victoria.

“While Melbourne Airport has consistently advocated for an underground station, we are prepared to compromise on our position to ensure we have more transport options in place for the millions of new passengers that will visit Victoria and the airport precinct’s expanding workforce.”

Argus said the $3 billion third runway, which is currently before the Federal Government for approval, will ultimately improve choice and the affordability of air travel for Australians.

“The third runway project will allow for the growth of our existing airlines as well as attracting new carriers,” she remarked. 

“There will be fewer delays with an additional runway and more flight options for travellers, putting downward pressure on airfares.”

Image Victorian Government Melbourne Airport
Image Victorian Government.

With the new north-south runway expected to open in 2030, the airport hopes construction on the rail line will start as soon as possible, the ABC reported. That means travellers may see the rail connection operating within six years.

In a statement, Melbourne Airport says it wants to restart talks with the government immediately, focusing on the station’s design, construction timeline and redress for the required land.

Tullamarine predicts that in less than 20 years, traffic through the hub will grow from around 100,000 daily passengers to more than 210,000 passengers. It expects the larger airport to add $5.9 billion to the Victorian economy every year.

TWU take

Melbourne airport Airports
Melbourne Airport travellers.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) has welcomed the hub’s agreement to an above-ground rail link, with its Victorian/Tasmanian branch saying a key barrier to the much-needed project had been removed.

With limited bus routes available, the union said the rail link would be vital for bolstering Australia’s aviation industry.

“This is positive news for 18,000 aviation workers, thousands of passengers, aviation businesses and the community,” TWU Vic/Tas Branch Secretary Mem Suleyman said.

“Affordable connections between the city and the main airport in Melbourne is a critical piece in the puzzle to get workers back into aviation and operations running smoothly.

“The airport has always had a responsibility to the workers that keep it running and get planes safely into the air.

“It’s positive to see aviation jobs and connections being rebuilt.”

A plane taking off from Melbourne Airport
A plane taking off from Melbourne Airport.

Melbourne Airport has been a hotbed of activity recently. Last week, the first new-build, globally branded hotel to debut at Melbourne Airport in more than two decades officially swung open its doors for business. 

Just weeks earlier, the new-look PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport – MEL’s most conveniently located hotel – debuted its new multi-million-dollar refurb for short and long stays with refreshed interiors, guestrooms and amenities, including family rooms and full fitness facilities.

The airport has also welcomed a slew of new route launches, including a new way to travel to China with China Eastern Airlines and the first Rex service between the east and west coasts of Australia.