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

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

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 Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

33 comments

  • Rigs

    Rigs

    25 Oct, 2016 11:41 am

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

    eminere

    25 Oct, 2016 07:12 pm

    Could not agree more.
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  • mrmaxwell

    mrmaxwell

    25 Oct, 2016 12:07 pm

    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?
    Members who gave thanks

    Mikana, 3 guests

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    25 Oct, 2016 12:11 pm

    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.
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    henry_168, 1 guest

  • Jono

    Jono

    25 Oct, 2016 12:25 pm

    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. 
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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    25 Oct, 2016 12:35 pm

    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. 
    Member who gave thanks

    sgb

  • sgb

    sgb

    25 Oct, 2016 01:21 pm

    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.
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  • Dorn

    Dorn

    25 Oct, 2016 02:36 pm

    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!
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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    25 Oct, 2016 02:58 pm

    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!
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  • Mark

    Mightyreds

    25 Oct, 2016 06:25 pm

    Have you been through LHR recently? Voted top 10 best airport and I would have to agree. From the upgraded T3 to the brand new T2, it is miles ahead of MEL airport.
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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    25 Oct, 2016 06:43 pm

    Two weeks ago. The disability assistance people told me three times to walk, the business BA lounge when I poked my head in on the way to F was a shambles, the shopping and food courts were riotous! No positives!
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  • Mark

    Mightyreds

    25 Oct, 2016 08:06 pm

    It sounds like you have had a bad experience indeed. I personally have nothing but positives to speak of regarding LHR with only more upgrades on the way.
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  • ajstubbs

    ajstubbs

    25 Oct, 2016 08:40 pm

    May well have just been a bad day there! 
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  • cloud-9

    cloud-9

    27 Oct, 2016 05:58 am

    Why use the food court if you had access to the F lounge?!
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  • AJW

    AJW

    26 Oct, 2016 03:19 pm

    Which terminal at LHR? T5 is pretty good, T3 a zoo and T4 reasonable post refurb. Haven't been to the new Star alliance terminal.
    The thing that annoys me about LHR however is how they don't/won't show departure gates for flights until about an hour before departure so as to keep you in their waiting areas which are in the shopping area. The excuse is they don't know what gate until an hour beforehand, which is rot when say the Qantas A380 has been sitting at the gate for an hour already. The reason is to keep you shopping.
    Likewise at T5 if you want to access the BA lounge (except Concorde lounge), you have to walk past the lounge, down through the shops then back up to the entry. Though think I read somewhere they are now going to have a premium entry to bypass that walk but it was a hard fight against BAA to bypass the shop walk.
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  • cloud-9

    cloud-9

    27 Oct, 2016 05:54 am

    Would you really want to spend longer than an hour at the gate? I prefer to sit in the lounge and check the departure board occasionally 
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  • anthony watts

    anthony watts

    25 Oct, 2016 03:14 pm

    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.
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  • Melbzone

    henry_168

    25 Oct, 2016 03:25 pm

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

    henry_168

    25 Oct, 2016 03:55 pm

    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.
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  • AJW

    AJW

    26 Oct, 2016 03:23 pm

    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.
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  • TheRealBabushka

    TheRealBabushka

    25 Oct, 2016 03:58 pm

    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. 
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  • Agfox

    Agfox

    25 Oct, 2016 06:09 pm

    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'
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  • Mark

    Mightyreds

    25 Oct, 2016 06:22 pm

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

    gsx

    26 Oct, 2016 10:52 am

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

    RaptorNation158

    26 Oct, 2016 03:33 pm

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

    Mikana

    26 Oct, 2016 03:55 pm

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

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  • Nick Sydney 2

    neiljeram

    26 Oct, 2016 03:58 pm

    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 
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  • cloud-9

    cloud-9

    27 Oct, 2016 05:56 am

    The lack of train would be ok if the sky bus and hotel shuttle ran 24/7
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  • aggie57

    aggie57

    27 Oct, 2016 01:54 am

    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.
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  • Michael Gibbons

    rowwdy

    27 Oct, 2016 07:48 am

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

    gardermoen

    27 Oct, 2016 08:14 am

    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.  
    No member give thanks

  • MaxineF

    Maxinef1

    27 Oct, 2016 09:49 am

    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!
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  • Traveller14

    Traveller14

    21 Mar, 2017 09:22 pm

    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.
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26 May, 2019 03:58 pm

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