People in Sydney heading to Victoria can spend almost three times as much to reach Sydney Airport than they spend on their airfares to Melbourne.
Australia’s Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, said recently that an airline executive had told him “that his airline offers AUD 69 airfares to Melbourne but some customers travelling from Western Sydney are paying AUD 180 in taxi fares” to reach Sydney Airport.
“If getting to the airport costs you a lot of time and money, you miss out on much of the benefit of lower airfares,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher used the example to stress why Western Sydney Airport, due to open in 2026, is so important. “It will end the unfair situation where people in Western Sydney have much poorer access to their nearest airport than people in other parts of Sydney, and other cities of Australia.”
Not that Fletcher’s electorate of Bradfield is located in Sydney’s west. In his own words, it’s a “wonderful electorate covering Sydney’s upper north shore and surrounding areas”.
People who live in Western Sydney, however, are “ among the worst-served people in Australia when it comes to air travel”, Fletcher says,. They face “a long, expensive journey to get to Sydney’s only airport, located at the far eastern edge of the metropolitan area”.
Fletcher pointed out recently that by itself, Western Sydney would be the fourth largest city in Australia, bigger than Adelaide, the Gold Coast or Canberra.
Sydney’s new airport would be fairer for Western Sydney in jobs as well, he said.
“ Airports are proven job generators. Western Sydney Airport will bring jobs to the area – jobs that locals will be well placed to fill.
“Typically the majority of people who work at an airport live nearby. At Kingsford Smith Airport, for example, about 80% of workers live within a 30-minute distance. By the early 2030s there are expected to be about 9000 direct jobs at Western Sydney Airport – and many more at the businesses that the airport attracts to the area.”
Concerns that the impact on residents in areas surrounding Western Sydney Airport would be greater than the impact of Kingsford Smith Airport at Mascot were mistaken, he said.
“The facts tell a different story. Thanks to careful planning over many years, residential areas are well away from Western Sydney Airport. The nearest built-up residential areas are 10 kilometres away.
“By contrast, there are homes just 600m from the runway at Sydney Airport. Australia’s four most densely populated suburbs are all within 10 kilometres.”
Edited by Peter Needham