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No lifting of cap as Sydney Airport decision looms

November 14, 2013 Airport, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australia’s federal government may finally be close to a decision on the site of a second airport for Sydney, though such predictions have been made many times before as the decades roll by.

The Abbott government has rejected calls from the travel industry to review the hourly cap on flights from Sydney Airport, the Australian Financial Review reported yesterday.

Meanwhile, Regional Development Australia Sydney, a joint federal-state development body, says western Sydney needs an airport at Badgerys Creek. A new airport would spur the development of rail lines and roads that run across the west, rather than just into the Sydney CBD.CONSULTANTS TRAVEL MKTG HOT PINK 250 X 250

“The potential long-term significance of an airport on the Commonwealth land would have more influence by far than any other factor with respect to current and future long term investment and development within Sydney but more particularly greater western Sydney,” the group’s submission on a draft state government employment strategy for the west states, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The travel industry lobby group Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF) has also come out with a statement on the matter, though it’s worth noting that the existing Sydney Airport is a member of the TTF. A few weeks ago, Sydney Airport’s chairman, Max Moore-Wilton, dismissed growing expectations that the federal government will begin work on a second airport for the city within three years.

The TTF’s position on the matter largely coincides with that of Sydney Airport.

“We would welcome a decision that Badgerys Creek would be the site of a secondary airport, but the reality is that it will be years before such an airport would open,” TTF chief executive Ken Morrison said.

“In the interim, the number of people flying to and from Sydney is forecast to double over the next 20 years and the current restrictions make it harder than it needs to be for Sydney Airport to manage that demand.

“The cap on aircraft movements at Sydney Airport was introduced almost 20 years ago for reasons that no longer apply. It’s vital that Sydney Airport’s operating conditions are modernised to allow it to meet growing demand for air travel to and from Australia’s premier international gateway.

“A secondary airport is many years away so we need to take steps now to ensure we get the most out of the existing infrastructure to support the continuing growth of the visitor economy.

“There is no safety or operational rationale behind the cap of 80 movements per hour and lifting the cap would make a significant difference to capacity at Sydney Airport.

“We are urging the federal government to ensure the need to modernise Sydney Airport’s operating conditions is part of any consideration of Sydney’s future aviation needs.

“Regardless of when a Badgerys Creek airport is built, Sydney Airport will remain the primary aviation hub for Sydney and it needs to be able to operate to its potential, not with one hand tied behind its back.”

Nevertheless, it would seem that the cap is staying firmly in place.

Written by : Peter Needham

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