Proposal for New Airport in Southeast Melbourne

 

News article: Backing secured for major airport serving Melbourne's south-east

A $7 billion proposal to build a privately-owned international airport for Melbourne's south-east will be presented to the Victorian government next week.

  Carnot Minister for Railways

A serious proposal to build a new airport East of Cranbourne. Is this a good opportunity to reopen the old South Gippsland line out that far? (Proposed site is North of Lang Lang)
http://www.theage.com.au/business/aviation/backing-secured-for-major-airport-serving-melbournes-southeast-20170703-gx3efu.html

It would also serve the rapidly growing population at Clyde and Koo Wee Rup.

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  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Using the former Monomeith RAAF aerodrome, the outlines of the runways can be seen on google maps.
  allsmiles Station Master

This is pie in the sky stuff. It will be another failure and introduce large planes into airspace that is frequented by small aircraft. I cannot see the justification for it.

Rather than pouring the money into this redirect it into an efficient airport rail link that will be a benefit to a much larger number of people.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

This is pie in the sky stuff. It will be another failure and introduce large planes into airspace that is frequented by small aircraft. I cannot see the justification for it.

Rather than pouring the money into this redirect it into an efficient airport rail link that will be a benefit to a much larger number of people.
allsmiles
Largely agree.  It's also prime agricultural land which is quickly being gobbled up by housing and so on too.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
This is pie in the sky stuff. It will be another failure and introduce large planes into airspace that is frequented by small aircraft. I cannot see the justification for it.

Rather than pouring the money into this redirect it into an efficient airport rail link that will be a benefit to a much larger number of people.
allsmiles
The article states that a private financier is willing to step up with the cash, though doesnt say if there are government guarantees or not.  I say if the private sector is willing to put money into it, without government support, then let them go at it.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Using the former Monomeith RAAF aerodrome, the outlines of the runways can be seen on google maps.
Nightfire
  AJW Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Interesting.
See http://www.ozatwar.com/airfields/monomeithparkairfield.htm
and http://www.ozatwar.com/airfields/monmeithparkairfield02.jpg

The drainage in the area was a problem in 1934, WW2, 1952, 1959 ... and as recently as 2012.

Upgrade Tulla, fix the access and better utilise the asset.  Don't waste capital on another "Avalon" almost white elephant (only because the runways etc were already there).
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
This is pie in the sky stuff. It will be another failure and introduce large planes into airspace that is frequented by small aircraft. I cannot see the justification for it.

Rather than pouring the money into this redirect it into an efficient airport rail link that will be a benefit to a much larger number of people.
Largely agree.  It's also prime agricultural land which is quickly being gobbled up by housing and so on too.
Carnot
Absolutely agree, utter madness, a prime food growing region which is subject to flooding (some local groups say it will be under water in the next 20 > 50 years)

There has already been too much development in this vital agricultural region.

Listening to the proponent on radio it sounds like they have been approached by interested end users, specifically food exporters. Doesn't sound like Government has really been consulted much at this early stage.

BG
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
There's a great deal more to it than bulk dollars, and land.

A commercial airport in this area is going to complicate Air Traffic Control quite markedly.
Avalon and Tullamarine coexist due to most aircraft taking much the same approach paths to the Melbourne area. ATC will need a very large rethink if this one goes ahead.
There is going to be all kinds of sensitivity about approach paths, and the locals aren't going to want jet aircraft overhead at 1000 feet. It would be pointless building any airport where there might be a curfew imposed.
Tandberg in today's Age did a nice cartoon . . .   "So, you're going to build a new car park, eh?"  "Yes, but we'll put an airport beside it."
Any financier who wants to build it must also be held accountable for providing adequate road and rail access to the place. If he wants to come here to make a profit, he can start by not expecting the Government to stump up for infrastructure.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
I'm ambivalent about it. On one hand, the Caldermeade airport's proponents are absolutely right about access to Melbourne Airport from the south-eastern suburbs - it's a nightmare. Solving that problem will involve lots of infrastructure investment, be it for road or for rail. Building a new airport and associated infrastructure could be viewed as a viable alternative to that sort of investment. Of course, if Avalon Airport didn't exist then the South-East would definitely be the most logical location for Melbourne's second airport and might well have been done already. If this proposal became reality then I'm pretty sure that Avalon would lose most of its domestic flights, simply because Caldermeade would have a large exclusive passenger catchment. Lindsay Fox won't let that happen without a fight though.

On the other hand, whilst the proponents seem happy to build the airport itself (and the paid parking lots, no doubt), they probably aren't too keen on building or helping fund the associated infrastructure. At a minimum the South Gippsland Hwy would need widening to 3 lanes from Cranbourne to Caldermeade and Healesville-Koo Wee Rup Rd from Pakenham to the Koo Wee Rup Bypass would need heaps of upgrades (likely from C road up to B or even A road status, plus extra lanes). It all adds up.
Rail access via the old South Gippsland line rail corridor certainly looks possible, though it'd be horrendously expensive to extend electrified track from Cranbourne or Clyde all the way to Caldermeade. You're talking at least 20km of track from Clyde to Caldermeade (assuming the extension happens sooner rather than later). The whole corridor is only provisioned for single track and it runs through reclaimed marshes so there's a fair bit of it running on top of embankments and a handful of major drain and river crossings. So you've got massive earthworks and bridge replacements to add to the bill. Then you add in the costs of 6 road-rail grade separations. The only thing you wouldn't be shelling out for would be land acquisition costs - assuming that the Caldermeade Airport mob are generous enough to give you an easement to access their airport for free.
And something else that might be pertinent: Tullamarine has a jet fuel pipeline. Avalon is getting one soon(ish). There's no refinery or refined products (i.e jet fuel) pipeline anywhere near Caldermeade. It's not likely to be a near-term constraint on a potential Caldermeade Airport, but eventually the cost of getting jet fuel from the refineries/import terminals out to Caldermeade will cause issues or make it less cost-competitive with Avalon.


The potential for air-freighting Gippsland produce to Asian markets sounds like they're just parroting the talking points of the 'Brisbane West' aka Wellcamp airport near Toowoomba. I don't think it's relevant - Gippsland and the Darling Downs are chalk and cheese when it comes to agricultural markets. Gippsland agriculture is naturally and therefore predominantly oriented towards serving the Melbourne market. The Darling Downs are massive and comparatively under-developed. Any air-freighted produce from Caldermeade would be more likely to end up being shipped on international passenger flights, not the dedicated air freighters that Wellcamp Airport tries to attract.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
My thoughts:
  • It's a great idea, it would be closer to half Melbourne's population than Tulla is. Nearby suburbs are already 2 hours drive from Tullamarine.
  • It would reduce traffic on roads used by people and businesses in the south east to get to Tulla airport. The Monash, Eastern and Tullamarine freeways are already clogged for much of the day, so an airport serving people in the south eastern suburbs would save people and businesses a lot of time.
  • It would relieve pressure on Tulla airport which is already short of flight slots and terminal space at a few peak times.
  • It's right next to the old South Gippsland railway, so it could be connected to Cranbourne by rail for very little IF the state government doesn't insist on gold plating it.
  • If it's privately financed like the flash new Towoomba airport is, there's no risk of taxpayers having to finance cost blowouts.
  • It will never happen due to NIMBYs, Greenies and that demographic of people who actively oppose absolutely everything.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The idea of cargo makes sense to me but is this already available via Avalon?

We would most definitely need the rail link back with electrification as mentioned in the comprehensive post above.   The line would be required for passenger services and for freight/cargo.

Would we be better spending the money on a rail link to Melbourne airport or avalon?  Well those companies who own those assets are not at all interested in the transport options over and above what we have now.  So why not come competition?
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
By this logic there should be an international airport serving every district in Victoria. Which we all know is unrealistic and is not going to happen.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
My thoughts:
  • It's a great idea, it would be closer to half Melbourne's population than Tulla is. Nearby suburbs are already 2 hours drive from Tullamarine.
  • It would reduce traffic on roads used by people and businesses in the south east to get to Tulla airport. The Monash, Eastern and Tullamarine freeways are already clogged for much of the day, so an airport serving people in the south eastern suburbs would save people and businesses a lot of time.
  • It would relieve pressure on Tulla airport which is already short of flight slots and terminal space at a few peak times.
  • It's right next to the old South Gippsland railway, so it could be connected to Cranbourne by rail for very little IF the state government doesn't insist on gold plating it.
  • If it's privately financed like the flash new Towoomba airport is, there's no risk of taxpayers having to finance cost blowouts.
  • It will never happen due to NIMBYs, Greenies and that demographic of people who actively oppose absolutely everything.
Bogong
There is already an airport at Tooradin which is quite close by and this has been touted as the site for Melbourne's 3rd International airport in the past.

https://www.ausbt.com.au/melbourne-s-third-airport-proposed-where-should-it-go

Building an airport at the proposed site could have a detrimental affect on the surrounding farming land. There is also the Western Port Ramsar listed wetlands site which may be affected by both proposals although of course in the case of Tooradin it already exists albeit on a smaller scale.

BG
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
My thoughts:
  • It's a great idea, it would be closer to half Melbourne's population than Tulla is. Nearby suburbs are already 2 hours drive from Tullamarine.
  • It would reduce traffic on roads used by people and businesses in the south east to get to Tulla airport. The Monash, Eastern and Tullamarine freeways are already clogged for much of the day, so an airport serving people in the south eastern suburbs would save people and businesses a lot of time.
  • It would relieve pressure on Tulla airport which is already short of flight slots and terminal space at a few peak times.
  • It's right next to the old South Gippsland railway, so it could be connected to Cranbourne by rail for very little IF the state government doesn't insist on gold plating it.
  • If it's privately financed like the flash new Towoomba airport is, there's no risk of taxpayers having to finance cost blowouts.
  • It will never happen due to NIMBYs, Greenies and that demographic of people who actively oppose absolutely everything.
There is already an airport at Tooradin which is quite close by and this has been touted as the site for Melbourne's 3rd International airport in the past.

https://www.ausbt.com.au/melbourne-s-third-airport-proposed-where-should-it-go

Building an airport at the proposed site could have a detrimental affect on the surrounding farming land. There is also the Western Port Ramsar listed wetlands site which may be affected by both proposals although of course in the case of Tooradin it already exists albeit on a smaller scale.

BG
BrentonGolding
Brenton, by all means build the new airport at Tooradin, that location seems to be slightly better than Koo Wee Rup to me as it's a bit closer to population centres and planes taking off to the south over the swamps at the top of Westernport would be free of noise abatement concerns.

But I strongly support any airport able to take at least A320 / B737 size aircraft for domestic flights near the head of Westernport. Any government backed project would take decades to plan and would almost certainly be subject to long delays and massive cost overruns, I doubt a government sponsored airport would be operational in under 30 years. So if a private consortium wants to build it in a slightly different location, the fact that they will build it quickly and efficiently is a huge bonus.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW

https://www.ausbt.com.au/melbourne-s-third-airport-proposed-where-should-it-go
BrentonGolding

Off topic, but good to see an article from ausbt.com.au before they became a mere factory for reiterating press releases....
  Carnot Minister for Railways

It could be a good place for International tourists that just want to go to the Penguin Parade and Puffing Billy....
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
It would relieve pressure on Tulla airport which is already short of flight slots and terminal space at a few peak times.
Bogong
Melbourne Airport has heaps of room for expansion to deal with that. There's plans for a 3rd runway and 5th terminal in the near/medium term to handle air-side capacity constraints. Passenger access will largely depend on what shape an eventual rail link takes.

It's right next to the old South Gippsland railway, so it could be connected to Cranbourne by rail for very little IF the state government doesn't insist on gold plating it.
Bogong
What you see as gold-plating is going to be inevitable and necessary. All of the bridges will need to be rebuilt - that's not 'gold-plating', that's sound engineering practice. Likewise, the embankments will at a minimum need some degree of rehabilitative earthworks. All of the track will need to be relaid from the formation up.
And as for duplication - if you don't have duplicated track then you won't be able to cater for a level of service that justifies a railway line to Caldermeade Airport in the first place. Ditto for electrification.
Grade separations are also a necessity - the State Government isn't going to reinstate level crossings on any railway lines that carry passengers. That point aside, the railway corridor is completely cut in half where it meets the Koo Wee Rup bypass, so grade separation of that 'crossing' is required no matter what.
The local council would call for Koo Wee Rup station to be rebuilt so that locals can use the train as well - is that gold-plating or just the cost of getting local consent?

If it's privately financed like the flash new Toowoomba airport is, there's no risk of taxpayers having to finance cost blowouts.
Bogong
Depends - if the whole thing goes under, will the Government step in to finish it? What happens if it fails and the Government is left with the tab for all of the supporting infrastructure that is now unnecessary? What if the whole airport proposal is designed to fail and just ends up being a land-grab to build a 'master-planned' housing estate on a floodplain?
There's less risk than if the Government funded the whole thing, but not no risk at all.

It will never happen due to NIMBYs, Greenies and that demographic of people who actively oppose absolutely everything.
Bogong
Or it might just die a natural death because the proposal could be more trouble than it appeared to be at face-value. Who knows? Making predictions is hard, especially about the future Laughing
  VicRailNews Station Master

By this logic there should be an international airport serving every district in Victoria. Which we all know is unrealistic and is not going to happen.
railblogger

How is cargo into and out of Victoria for china and the like handled now?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
@LancedDendrite makes many good points in his post above.

Ill just say that i see many parallels between this and Badgeries Creek airport.  Saving travel time for many who would otherwise have a substantial drive to get to Tulla.  For now, just make it 737/A320 capable (with infrastructure to support an airport of that size - which may not be any train and a limited level of freeway connection) and leave it at that till it starts proving itself.
  allsmiles Station Master

Any private consortium spending money will be looking for a return on their money. Instead of creating another problem in an area where there is no infrastructure to support it, do some thing about fixing what we have.

Tullamarine as already noted has room to handle more air traffic, what it does not have is the ability to handle the people, a once sixty minute journey from home in to valet parking now takes one hundred and twelve minutes traveling outside peak, and if using long term parking add an extra thirty minutes to be safe. There is no comparison between  what is happening in NSW and Victoria. Victoria does not have curfews that paralyses the airport between 10pm and 7am. With regard to tourism, the coaches going down to the ducks are often lightly loaded with operators combining tours to save money. I am not sure as to the figures for Puffing Billy. It is hard to envisage enough planes full of tourists heading to the ducks and the stoic little puffer in the hills to justify such a project.  

As for saving shipping times on sensitive freight, may be a few flower growers will gain an advantage of questionable size for half of the year, for the rest of the produce there is little to be gained, general freight is well catered for at the moment out of Tullamarine, with a lot of so called interstate air cargo being handled by overnight express road freight. Avalon is greatly underutilized and some encouragement directed toward its owner to improve the facility to make it more attractive to use and a direct rail link would make it a serious alternative to Tullarmarine for most travelers.  

As far as roads being clogged, being very generous, it is only at the start and end of peak holiday times and only for a short period of time the destination of the majority of the traffic is Tullamarine Airport. The roads are mostly clogged with one person per car doing repetitive every day business. Better rail and light rail connecting these woefully serviced areas would make a big difference to the load on the roads.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
By this logic there should be an international airport serving every district in Victoria. Which we all know is unrealistic and is not going to happen.

How is cargo into and out of Victoria for china and the like handled now?
VicRailNews
Air out of Avalon and ship. In some cases freight may also be sent on passenger flights.
  cabidass Chief Train Controller

There is some interesting points raised above. The concerns around the flood plain, food bowl, and aviation fuel supply are all valid. The expense required to upgrade road and rail infrastructure is also pertinent. I think the 5 year timeline is laughable. But understand there are those in Koo Wee Rup and Koorumburra who would desperately like to see a rail return.

Personally, I see no harm in the government reserving (well studied and researched) land for a future airport in the east. But I don't see the point in rushing into one when we have two that operate well below capacity.
  don_dunstan Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Adelaide proud
It's not a bad idea but Tullamarine is NOT at capacity - there's heaps more room out there to build another runway if necessary and it isn't subject to a curfew as others have already observed. Melbourne would be better served by cross-city semi express trains that terminate at the airport - maybe from population centres like Dandy and Ringwood. It probably won't occur for 20-30 years but given that there's supposed to be 8 million+ residents later this century you would think advance planning for that should really be happening now. Melbourne was once surprisingly well planned with the MMBW; worst thing they ever did was get rid of that statutory authority.

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