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Decide on Sydney Airport and expand Brisbane: IATA

July 5, 2013 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australia needs to make a decision on a second Sydney airport and expand Brisbane Airport, if aviation connectivity in the country is to continue to develop.

That’s according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA’s call comes as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd swings his support behind the expansion of Brisbane Airport.

“Aviation has always played a key role in Australia,” IATA’s director general and chief executive, Tony Tyler, told the National Aviation Press Club in Sydney.

“It binds the continent together and connects the island to its major trading partners.  Combined with tourism, aviation supports over 6% of Australia’s GDP and 7.4% of the workforce. That’s AUD WSFH_BANNER_SQUARE75 billion in business and 800,000 jobs. There is a lot at stake and we need to get the policies right. Infrastructure and taxation are at the top of the list.”

IATA urged the government to bring clarity to the future development of Australia’s hub capacity by making a decision on the construction of a second airport for Sydney.

“At some point, Sydney airport will reach its maximum potential,” Tyler said.

“Even Sydney Airport’s draft master plan acknowledges that. We have about two decades to select a site, sort out all of the necessary approvals, acquire the land, upgrade surface transport, get the airport built, and, of course figure out how to pay for it all.

“That is not a lot of time for such a mammoth and important project.”

Sydney Airport had published its draft master plan, which shows that it can accommodate a doubling of traffic by 2033. Sydney is Australia’s major aviation hub and the busiest airport in the Southern hemisphere.

“Australia needs to do business with Asia. But that’s going to be difficult if it does not have the airport hub capacity to facilitate the needed connectivity,” Tyler said.

He noted that major new aviation infrastructure developments have taken place across Asia in the last two decades – new terminals in Singapore and Taipei, new runways and terminals in Tokyo and Delhi; and  whole new airports in Seoul, Osaka, Nagoya, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur—and a massive airport construction program across China.

“Further procrastination will only lead to missed opportunities for economic growth. The challenge is to break out of the endless cycle of studies, make a decision and get on with it,” Tyler declared.

Tyler then turned his attention to Brisbane Airport, which is awaiting a new parallel runway.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has dropped his previous opposition to the expansion of Brisbane Airport and now agrees a parallel runway is crucial.

So does IATA, which has expressed concern about plans to pre-finance capacity expansion at Brisbane.

“We would not consider pre-financing for other major infrastructure projects,” Tyler said.

“Imagine trying to charge users of an existing secondary road for a super highway the benefit of which others will eventually enjoy. You couldn’t do it. Not only is this common-sense, but the concept is embedded in principles for infrastructure development agreed through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The government needs to take a firmer stance in encouraging the airport to align its plans with ICAO principles.”

Written by : Peter Needham

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