Third Melb Airport runway a step closer

A third runway at Melbourne Airport is a step closer to becoming a reality.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Catherine King has given the green light to the airport's 2022 Master Plan, which includes room for a third runway.

However, the minister is yet to make a decision on whether the third runway will actually be built.

That is a separate process and will be assessed in 2023.

Under the Master Plan, a third runway would run in a north-south direction and a fourth runway would eventually be added in a east-west direction, leading to a "hashtag configuration".

Melbourne Airport Chief Executive Officer Lorie Argus said an extra runway is needed to cater for growing demand.

"Australia's vast distances and Melbourne's position on the globe mean air travel is essential to connect people, goods and business, and it's important to make this as easy as possible," Mr Argus said in a statement.

Residents living near the Tullamarine airport have created a local action group over concerns the extra infrastructure would increase noise pollution and impact local businesses.

Minister King acknowledged there had been community opposition and said noise would be an important consideration when assessing the airport's plans for expansion.

"I have indicated my concerns regarding some aspects of the proposal - including changes to the existing runways and noise sharing and mitigation arrangements," Minister King said in a statement.