Former Qantas Chief Lyell Strambi New Melbourne Airport CEO

17th Jun 2015

When the current chief executive officer of Melbourne Airport Chris Woodruff steps down at the end of the month, there's a big chance he will be replaced by an ex-Qantas chief executive Lyell Strambi.

Of course, if Strambi gets the job, he'll immediately face a tough task ahead of him.

One of the biggest challenges in the first 18 month will be to manage big capital projects and enable Melbourne Airport to better cope with a surge of overseas passengers. Roadway congestion to the Tullamarine airport is one of the cities' biggest hurdles right now.

Mr. Strambi has confirmed his candidacy himself saying:

"It would be a terrific role. They are still working through the process of finding a replacement at Melbourne Airport."

Before he left the Australian carrier, Strambi was seen as the number one successor of Qantas' current CEO Alan Joyce.

He would bring a solid experience working with airports from his previous role at Virgin Atlantic, where he was dealing with Heathrow and Gatwick airports. This would certainly work in his favor, knowing how relations between carriers and airports can be strained.

Former Tiger Australia Boss Shelley Roberts Also a Candidate

This won't be a solo race however. Former Tiger Australia chief Shelley Roberts is also understood to be a candidate to be the airport's CEO.

The current Sydney Airport executive certainly has more experience running and airport than Strambi. She held a senior position at Sydney Airport for several years and has reported directly to its chief executive Kerrie Mather.

However, Ms. Roberts's name has only been raised in some industry circles as a potential candidate. She has not acknowledged the rumor herself.

What is waiting for the New CEO?

The new CEO of Melbourne Airport will have some large infrastructure projects to deal with in the next 18 months. This includes improved road access, adding more terminal gates, and a third runway as a part of its long-term master plan.

Executive director for the Board of Airline Representatives Mr. Barry Abrams said:

"The new CEO will certainly have some challenges when they get into the role. It is a big capital program for the roads and expansion of gates. They need the infrastructure to cope with rapid growth in demand."