Asia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) Pty Ltd - the owner and operator of Melbourne's Tullamarine airport - released its July year-on-year passenger statistics yesterday. Standing out amongst all other statistics in the media release, was that Tullamarine has for the first time registered more than 30 million passengers passing through its terminals.
Likewise more than 2 million passengers passed through the domestic terminals and as stated in media release, APA have acknowledged early works have begun on expanding Terminal 4 - the low-cost terminal which Tiger Air currently operates out of. You can see some of the renders posted on our forum back in April here.
I've always liked to think growth in airports - be it passenger numbers, aircraft movements or infrastructure growth - are a reflection of the city they're located in. When an airport is growing through passenger numbers and therefore aircraft movements, it's generally a good sign the city the airport is attached to is likewise seeing healthy growth.
It's not all about Melbourne's profile being expanded through the greater connectivity afforded by airlines increasing frequencies, such as Singapore airlines recently moving to 4 x daily operations between Melbourne & Singapore, or creating new routes like Air India will be soon to Delhi; it's just as much a reflection of the mood of Melburnians and their happiness/ability to splurge and go see the rest of the world.
Image Credit: Indian Economic Times. Click here for more photos of Air India's 787.
Despite a general belief that a high-speed rail corridor between Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney would be good thing for the environment (as long as the power generated for the new line was from a renewable or cleaner-than-coal source) as well as capacity issues in Sydney, we're likely to be stuck with Tullamarine as our primary entry and exit point for many years yet. It's encouraging to see the many-times-over refreshed masterplan is slowly coming to fruiting through the recently announced 3rd runway planning project and the ongoing terminal expansion projects but as I and others have written on UrbanMelbourne.info before, one of the main issues which will remain with Tullamarine is ground transport access.
It might take another decade for Tullamarine to reach 40 million passengers a year - the passenger figure generally thought to be where there will be a definite "need" for a rail line to and from the centre of the city - but it will be an interesting decade given the push to expand the Tullamarine Freeway between the Western Ring Road and the airport.
Will we see more frequent skybus services in the interim? Who knows, but it's a sure bet on the road to 40 million passengers, the pressure to service Tullamarine from a ground transport perspective is going to increase and here's also hoping the State Government comes to a better agreement to channel more non-skybus services into the precinct from areas where most airport employees live.