Luxe make-over for Melbourne Airport's T2 international terminal

By David Flynn, October 25 2016

Melbourne Airport's international terminal is getting a retail-oriented revamp, with an emphasis on upmarket fashion and gourmet dining.

The airport suggests the make-over "will capture the character of Melbourne in a way that truly showcases the sophisticated essence of the city" in "a vibrant precinct that mirrors the city’s world-renowned shopping, food and beverage and cultural experiences."

What does it all mean to travellers?

The passengers-only 'airside' section of T2 which lies past customs and security is being treated as four distinct retail precincts.

The hero offering will be a Melbourne-esque laneway-style retail area which mimics the city's colourful concrete corridors, although probably sans graffiti.

A new "luxury shopping precinct" will be set aside for "the world’s most fashionable and desirable luxury brands."

The dining area will provide travellers with new options for quick eats, along with restaurants and bars.

There'll also be an expanded duty free store, growing by some 30% by early 2017 – but unlike Sydney Airport's recent and welcome move to declutter the duty-free zone, outbound travellers will still be force-fed into the duty-free maze.

While the new layout is "designed to make the smartest use of the Melbourne Airport airside terminal", Melbourne Airport's retail exec Andrew Gardiner told Australian Business Traveller, "it’s a very different space geographically to Sydney Airport, and therefore the 'wide open' approach would not work here."

The entire project is expected to be completed by early 2018.

David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Rigs

Rigs

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

13 Dec 2015

Total posts 30

Would benefit more if they pull many of the lounges out of the basement.

eminere

eminere

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Sep 2013

Total posts 1117

Could not agree more.

mrmaxwell

mrmaxwell

17 Jun 2011

Total posts 66

In other international cities they build world class terminals designed to cater for the future; in Melbourne and Sydney they simply upgrade the shops.

Can we aim high for once?

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 510

Doesn't address the main issues with T2, such as landside is a zoo both in departures and arrivals, insufficient gates for peak times, dark lounges under concourse with no natural light and a terrible arrivals hall.  

Melbourne Airport Corp need to work out what they are doing with T2 long term.  My suggestion is build a new T5 for VA south of T4 and rebuild entire T3 and incorporate into the international complex.  Rebuilding the T3 concourse would also mean there were more gates for international flights operated by narrowbodies to NZ, Bali etc as well as more A330 sized gates for Asia.

Jono

Jono

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Jan 2013

Total posts 245

So instead of going back to the grass roots reasoning for an airports existence, (you know: facilitating efficient passenger movement, coping with increasing traffic etc.) and continuing the growth and upgrades there; they've chosen to focus on trying to recreate Chadstone. For all those times I've though: 'I must get my mate a present, let's go hang out at the airport'.

Perhaps the rent money brings in more then the planes landing and that's the business case? Please excuse my playing armchair CEO, but it seems like an odd focus. 

ajstubbs

ajstubbs

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Got to say I agree with most of the above. The last thing I think on my way through T2 is 'this needs more shops and duty free'. The eating areas alone make me endlessly grateful for lounge access. The seating is inadequate also. Give the boarding areas, gates and lounges the attention. People care more about that than stocking up on perfume that's usually cheaper online. 

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 742

I usually go as fast as I can past all those shops avoiding the perfume sprayers and head straight up to the new EK lounge, tranquility and luxury.

Dorn

Dorn

05 Oct 2016

Total posts 8

This really is rather depressing news. The terminal needs a complete and total rebuild, not just an extra bit of retail space to sell some more tat! If even Heathrow can make Melbourne looks really, really, bad... you know something has gone badly wrong. Pump some money into a new terminal building, and a rail line to the airport, and finally we might get a terminal to be proud of!

ajstubbs

ajstubbs

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Mar 2016

Total posts 169

Don't think I'd go that far. LHR is awful, don't think Melb has hit those lows! Everything at LHR is disorganised and the staff seem chronically unpleasant. Melb feels friendlier at least!

anthony watts

anthony watts

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 78

While any improvement is welcome, Reeve35's suggestion above does seem a very good one. Ifsydney is reaching capacity (until the mythical 2nd airport is built) it would seem from a good busines pov to grow melbourne, not just put a little more lipstick on the pig.

henry_168

henry_168

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2016

Total posts 33

A little too late for the T2 Upgrade?  It is way overdue!!  Melbourne should be renamed from a moving city to backward city!

henry_168

henry_168

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 May 2016

Total posts 33

Melbourne airport is old, tired/unattractive and small - long overdue expansion needed for catering higher volume of international passengers.  When does Melbourne airport authority need to wake up to themselves to be more competitive and strategic thinking?  Too comfortable or lazy to think?  Or perhaps that's the attitude........


Also, those airport lounges (QF, CX, SQ, etc) were old and dated.  Traffics often high and hard to find a seat inside the lounge (not to mention the quality of foods and drinks on offer).  Maybe private lounges like Plaza Premium or Priority lounges are setup soon to cater for non-frequent flyer members to use these lounges?  I often found the privately owned lounges are better and linked to higher-level credit card holders for more attractive benefits.

AJW

AJW

16 Nov 2011

Total posts 498

Couldn't agree more. My last inbound trip we got bussed to the terminal. The bus dropped us off at a door that was next to the rubbish skips, with no one available to open the door to let us in. Took 5 minutes before a staff member came to open the door. Then to top it off the escalator wasn't working, so people were trying to walk up it, but there were so many people on it the weight of people walking was making the escalator go backwards. You could imagine the result. Welcome to Melbourne folks.

TheRealBabushka

TheRealBabushka

21 Apr 2012

Total posts 3034

I don't mind the shops actually. A good way to train yourself to put the blinkers on as you make your way to the lounges. A little bit of brisk walking before a flight is always good. I'm not going to fall for the trap - I'll leave that for the sad tourist stocking up on instant formula/milk. 

Agfox

Agfox

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Apr 2011

Total posts 99

I'm trying to imagine someone from Melbourne Airport Corp passing through Immigration & Customs at, say, Changi & thinking 'Well, this is great but our highest priority is to upgrade the shopping at MEL'

Mightyreds

Mightyreds

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Feb 2015

Total posts 254

Will improve elements, but nothing on BNE's resent major upgrade and light years away from Changi.

gsx

gsx

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Aug 2015

Total posts 21

Wonder if this will include the revamp that was announced back in October 2014 with new outdoor areas etc ??

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

As if walking through the shops after security wasn't enough already...

Mikana

Mikana

UA

09 Mar 2016

Total posts 23

Like putting lipstick on a pig, it is. And it's all aimed at Chinese tourists. Rubbish.

neiljeram

neiljeram

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

26 May 2013

Total posts 33

All the above. Plus my bugbear and that is no train service into Melbourne.  I don't fly regularly from Melbourne international and the last few trips were on the late Qantas A380 service. The QF lounge is pretty dismal allied to the general tired look and feel. Sydney or Brisbane are streets ahead 

cloud-9

cloud-9

British Airways - Executive Club

28 Mar 2014

Total posts 54

The lack of train would be ok if the sky bus and hotel shuttle ran 24/7

aggie57

aggie57

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 148

You mean, more shops.  That's all this is about.  What they do need is to start on a new international terminal..  The current one is just adequate, international air travel is going to continue to increase and Melbourne is growing.  

There have been some improvements in recent years, such as the increased parking and a reasonable (if expensive) onsite hotel, but core things like the elevated roadway around the front and the arrivals areas are already inadequate.  Lets see what they look like in 5 years.

rowwdy

rowwdy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Mar 2013

Total posts 135

The bin-tang singlet set will love this! Any room for a casino?

gardermoen

gardermoen

09 May 2011

Total posts 21

This is disappointing that they decide to focus on more shopping options instead of realising the more crucial issue of the mess that is the landside area. From the pedestrian crossing mess (from both a pedestrian AND car perspective), to the mess that is the check-in area, where more and more temporary barriers seem to make any walking space thinner each time, this airport is getting more and more painful to use. There is nothing relaxing, nor pleasant about the experience at MEL.  

High time that they think about the next 10-20 years and build for that, instead of playing catch up to the past 5 years.  

Maxinef1

Maxinef1

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

31 Jan 2014

Total posts 14

Be careful what you wish for with a Melbourne Terminal upgrade - look at T4, all that expense and no Aerobridges! Add in the very long walk with no travellators and it's a terminal to be avoided - particulalry in winter!

Traveller14

Traveller14

17 Sep 2015

Total posts 391

Yes, T4 is a disaster but arriving in the dated international T2 with its low ceilings is not much of a joy either.  So far behind Changi it isn't funny, but oh well, at least Melbourne has blaring announcements in Mandarin.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Luxe make-over for Melbourne Airport's T2 international terminal