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Case Study

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Melbourne Airport

A big step forward

Case Study
7:39:58 3 July 2021

With 37 million people passing through its gates each year – and rising to 60 million in the next twenty years – Melbourne Airport has set about readying itself for becoming Australia’s largest and most prestigious airport.

However, while recognised as pragmatic and functional, it had a reputation for being neither unique nor memorable. We were asked to help turn Melbourne Airport into the most extraordinary of traveller experiences, an airport Melbourne and Australia could be proud of, and one that would happily compete on the global stage with the likes of Singapore Changi, Tokyo’s Haneda, or Munich airports.

We were asked to help transform
the airport into a place that offered
a truly extraordinary experience for
travellers from around the world.

Our first task was a precinct-wide audit of the traveller experience, with a mandate to develop a vision that filled identified shortfalls and developed an experience that resonated with the airport’s employees, its suppliers, its clients and, most importantly, its travellers. Following on, our recommendations for creating a door-to-plane experience included working with and helping inform the Aus$1 billion masterplan for the new international terminal, radically overhauling of the design of its domestic terminal, the development of over Aus$100 million operating system, producing a staff and supplier traveller experience training toolkit, and advising on the setting up a of a traveller experience management department.

Pavillion concept

Pavilion concept

“Beyond efficient, beyond effective, the most generous of civic gifts, Stepping Beyond promises to break the mould, whereby Melbourne Airport becomes a destination in itself.”


A physical and digital intervention, the Stepping Forward experience masterplan has progressed to design concept and is now in various stages of delivery. Crucially, as well as working closely with key stakeholders, including the airport’s airline clients, the brief for the identity that sits at the centre of the intervention was such that it should not be overshadowed by the city’s own identity and yet, at the same time, be of the city. We continue to work with the airport on a project-by-project basis and look forward to becoming permanent consultants to the ongoing traveller experience, pandemic allowing.

“Often in my career I have met
organisations who tell me how great
they are, but rarely have I worked
with one this great.”

Lyell Strambi
Melbourne Airport CEO

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