Taxiway Zulu Program and Northern Access Route

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Melbourne Airport has received approval for its construction of the Taxiway Zulu Program and a new Northern Access Route (including a construction compound). Following public exhibition of the Preliminary Major Development Plan in mid-2018, Melbourne Airport received approval for the MDP from the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional development in February 2019.

The Project forms part of a broader Northern Precinct Program, which seeks to reconfigure the existing taxiways and apron layout to eliminate any negative impacts on the potential growth opportunities at Melbourne Airport.

Specifically this project is designed to provide:

  • improved aircraft movements in the vicinity of Terminal 2 and to prepare for a potential future third runway
  • establish a construction compound and access for current and future works on the northern side of the Airport.

The scope of works are categorised into three phases and include the following overarching components.

  • New taxiway network in the Northern Precinct totalling 270,000 square metres of paved area.
  • Master-grading of apron areas associated with T2 Gates expansion project.
  • Associated services and utilities necessary to support development (including drainage and power).

Northern Access Route seeks to provide access for construction service associated with development of the Taxiway Zulu Program and future development in the Northern Precinct. The scope of works includes the following.

  • Road access networks including an interface with Sunbury Road and Oaklands Road roundabout.
  • Contractor compound (civil platform).
  • External access point will be provided via Gate 3 (at the Sunbury Road and Oakland Road roundabout).
  • Associated services and utilities including stormwater diversions, fencing, signage, services relocations and infrastructure upgrades.

Contractor Fulton Hogan will soon be working with Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) to deliver the new Taxiway Zulu Program and Northern Access Route Project (including a construction compound).

The $300+ million project forms part of a broader airfield development program, to enable the future expansion of the international terminal, improve aircraft movements in the airport’s northern precinct and support the operations of a future third runway.

Construction is due to commence in May 2019 and it is expected to be complete by September 2022.

Melbourne Airport has received approval for its construction of the Taxiway Zulu Program and a new Northern Access Route (including a construction compound). Following public exhibition of the Preliminary Major Development Plan in mid-2018, Melbourne Airport received approval for the MDP from the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional development in February 2019.

The Project forms part of a broader Northern Precinct Program, which seeks to reconfigure the existing taxiways and apron layout to eliminate any negative impacts on the potential growth opportunities at Melbourne Airport.

Specifically this project is designed to provide:

  • improved aircraft movements in the vicinity of Terminal 2 and to prepare for a potential future third runway
  • establish a construction compound and access for current and future works on the northern side of the Airport.

The scope of works are categorised into three phases and include the following overarching components.

  • New taxiway network in the Northern Precinct totalling 270,000 square metres of paved area.
  • Master-grading of apron areas associated with T2 Gates expansion project.
  • Associated services and utilities necessary to support development (including drainage and power).

Northern Access Route seeks to provide access for construction service associated with development of the Taxiway Zulu Program and future development in the Northern Precinct. The scope of works includes the following.

  • Road access networks including an interface with Sunbury Road and Oaklands Road roundabout.
  • Contractor compound (civil platform).
  • External access point will be provided via Gate 3 (at the Sunbury Road and Oakland Road roundabout).
  • Associated services and utilities including stormwater diversions, fencing, signage, services relocations and infrastructure upgrades.

Contractor Fulton Hogan will soon be working with Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) to deliver the new Taxiway Zulu Program and Northern Access Route Project (including a construction compound).

The $300+ million project forms part of a broader airfield development program, to enable the future expansion of the international terminal, improve aircraft movements in the airport’s northern precinct and support the operations of a future third runway.

Construction is due to commence in May 2019 and it is expected to be complete by September 2022.

Q&A

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    why the name

    Nadine asked 9 months ago

    Hi Nadine,

    Great question!

    The naming of airfield taxiways is proscribed in accordance with (for example) CASA, FAA, ICAO regulations.

    Taxiways must be named using phonetic alphabet that is used by all international airports e.g. Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo etc.

    Zulu is simply the last letter of the alphabet and the designated letter we planned to use for this new taxiway.

    The only “spare” letters we currently do not use are Delta, Hotel, Lima and Zulu.

    Guidelines also suggest letters that should NOT be used: -

    India (I)  because it looks like 1

    Oscar (O) because it looks like a zero.

    X-ray (X) because an X could be seen as a “closed” symbol.


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    Hi, In regards to this project has a contract been awarded for the recent construction Tender?

    J.Mc asked over 1 year ago

    Hi J.Mc, the contractor has not yet been announced for this project. We will update this site when we have more information to share.

    Just an update to your question - Contractor Fulton Hogan will soon be working with Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) to deliver the new Taxiway Zulu Program and Northern Access Route Project (including a construction compound).

    The $300+ million project forms part of a broader airfield development program, to enable the future expansion of the international terminal, improve aircraft movements in the airport’s northern precinct and support the operations of a future third runway.

    This is Fulton Hogan’s eighth successive project win for Melbourne Airport. Construction is due to commence in May 2019 and it is expected to be complete by September 2022.

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    1: What are the negative impacts which will be eliminated by the reconfigured taxiways and apron layout? 2: Are these works or part there of associated with the proposed third East/West runway? 3: Why are these works not included as part of the MDP for the proposed third East/West runway and or extension MDP for the existing East/West runway? 4: Is the northern access route be used for the construction of the proposed third East/West runway?

    Frank Rivoli asked over 2 years ago

    Thank you for your interest in this project. We have answered your questions below. 

    1: What are the negative impacts which will be eliminated by the reconfigured taxiways and apron layout?

    The Taxiway Zulu Project will provide the Airport’s Northern Precinct with independent, dual taxiways that would be compliant with the operation of wide body A380-800 aircraft. The new taxiway layout will reduce delays by providing a dual north-south and east-west taxiway network serving the Northern Precinct. This avoids head-to-head conflict between aircraft taxiing towards the east-west Runway 09/27 or arriving at the precinct and aircraft exiting for departure from Runway 16 (SW) or Runway 34 (NW). The Taxiway Zulu Project also facilitates operational efficiency by reducing the impact of aircraft pushing-back from the terminal stands onto active taxiways. For example, there are currently 10 stands pushing back into Taxiway Tango, but this number will be significantly reduced post-development with aircraft then pushing back onto the realigned Taxiway Echo.

    2: Are these works or part there of associated with the proposed third East/West runway?

    No. The Zulu works are a stand-alone project with the objective of improving operational efficiency of the taxiway network and to enable the extension to Terminal 2 Pier D to provide new international aircraft stands.

    3: Why are these works not included as part of the MDP for the proposed third East/West runway and or extension MDP for the existing East/West runway?

    The Taxiway Zulu Project enables the future extension to Terminal 2 Pier D to create additional aircraft gate capacity for international flights and delivers upgrades to the taxiway pavement. It is not related to proposed third runway (RDP). The RDP has been designed to either tie into the Taxiway Zulu Project or the existing airfield infrastructure should Taxiway Zulu not be constructed.

    4: Is the northern access route be used for the construction of the proposed third East/West runway?

    The Northern Access Route and contractor’s compound will not be a primary access for RDP construction. Construction access for proposed RDP is currently planned to utilise Operations Road from the south and a new access road to Airservices Australia running to the north west of the airfield.