Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi talks to APTRA


APTRA will be publishing a series of interviews over the next few months with CEOs from some of our member companies, starting with our airport members.

The first in our series is with the CEO of Melbourne Airport, Lyell Strambi.

Read the interview here…

About the airport…

Q:  What vision do you have for your airport?

A: To be an airport Melbourne (itself a world class city) can be proud of. Never an inhibitor on the city’s and States’ growth and an extension of the wonderful experience Melbourne offers residents and visitors alike.

Q: What are the challenges facing your airport at present?

A: Growth which delivers doubling of passenger volume every twenty years to be accommodated. Modernising a near 50 year old facility that has to remain open for business 24/7. The ever evolving terrorism threat. Keeping costs low so airfares stay low.

Q: Airports develop 5/10 and even 20 year plans. How do you see your airport developing and expanding over that time?

A: By law we need to produce an updated 20 plan for the airport every five years. However our high level plans actually look out to the ultimate development potential for the airport. That ultimate vision sees an airport capable of moving 100m passengers per annum which is treble today’s volume.

Q: Most airports rely on revenues from Aero, Property, Car Parking and Retail.  Do you see any new commercial opportunities presenting themselves, and do you see the relevance/importance of the four revenue generating areas changing over the short term?  How important is Duty Free to your airport?

A: Our industry has seen constant evolution and change across all areas. But while things will evolve the importance each plays will stay. For example self drive vehicles could significantly change our parking and ground access business. However it will likely present new revenue streams. With the pressure to keep airfares low we will continue to work other non aviation streams to optimise performance. Duty free is important but customers will determine if it stays as successful as it is today and that will be on the basis of it supplying goods conveniently and at a price that they consider a good deal.

 Benchmarking and networking

Q: Which are the most relevant and useful ways to benchmark your airport’s performance – financial results, passenger statistics, customer satisfaction, year-on-year, comparison with other airports?

A: Benchmarking is useful but every airport has subtle differences to you must understand to make sense of the benchmarking

Local Community, State and National Relationships (CEO/CCO)

Q: Does your airport liaise formally or informally with the regulatory and legislative departments responsible for duty free allowances, retail, transport infrastructure and policy?

A: Yes

Q: APTRA, in association with relevant trade associations, assists in co-ordinating advocacy efforts to defend the duty free & travel retail industry against perceived, potential or actual threats from regulatory bodies, such as product display bans, allowance cuts and the application of restrictive national laws to international duty free sales.

Has your airport and/or country been affected by such regulatory issues and if so, how do you address these issues?

A: Yes it has but the impact is not limited to actions by home regulators. Foreign regulators can have a significant impact on your business too.

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