A private consortium has put forward a 5.36-billion-U.S.-dollar proposal to build a major airport in Melbourne’s southeast.
Paragon Premier Investment, based in Melbourne, wants to build the airport between Koo Wee Rup and Lang Lang, 85 km south-east of Melbourne, to service the booming southeastern suburbs.
A third airport to accompany Tullamarine in the northwest and Avalon in the west has been identified by the state government as a major project for the long-term planning of Melbourne.
The airport would not require any government funding with Alande Mustafa Safi, chairman of Paragon, saying he has a letter of intent from an unidentified infrastructure financier to bankroll the project.
“It will be funded privately, so we’re literally going to build and say ‘here it is,'” Safi told Australian media.
“The funds are ready, the developers are ready.”
Since the consortium is not seeking funding, the project would only need to be approved by the government.
Paragon said the airport would have two runways when complete, comparing it in size to the Canberra airport which services 2.8 million passengers each year.
Cargo flights would begin in 2020 with domestic and international commercial services underway by 2022.
A Plan Melbourne report released on 2013 found that a south-east airport would service around three million people annually by 2050.
Safi said that the airport would accommodate the construction of two more runways if necessary.
He said that the initial focus of the airport would be on cargo such as fresh produce going to Asia from eastern Victoria.
“From Gippsland to Tullamarine it’s 3.5 hours, but to the Koo Wee Rup proposed airport it will be a 45-minute drive and then overnight to the Asian market, where the demand is,” he said.
Lyell Strambi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tullamarine Airport, told reporters in June that he would support an airport in Melbourne’s south-east as Tullamarine approached its growth limit.
Darren Chester, Australia’s Transport Minister, said that government agencies would work with “any future private sector proponents of the airport” on aviation safety, airspace protection and security.