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Industry backs Badgerys for second Sydney airport

written by WOFA | December 11, 2012

An end in sight to such familiar scenes? (Rob Finlayson)

Australia’s airline industry and leading analysts have urged the federal government to develop a new airport for Sydney within the next 10 years or risk imperilling the economy.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has reported airlines, infrastructure analysts and aviation experts have presented a compelling case to the federal government in November for it to abandon Wilton as the preferred site for a second airport in the Sydney basin and to revert to Badgerys Creek, itself abandoned in 2009 by the current government.

Each of the major Australian airlines supported by Regional Express, DHL, China Southern and leading aviation analysts have implored minister for infrastructure and transport Anthony Albanese to end decades of vacillation and commit to a decision.  The participants in the discussions have demanded a new airport be operational within 10 years to avoid what they see as a looming collision with economic well-being if a decision is not made.

The AFR report prepared from minutes it obtained of the meeting between the federal government and industry leaders said: “Kingsford Smith is closer to capacity than Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) will publicly state”.  In reply to the assertion, SACL reaffirmed its view that Sydney Airport could meet demand through to 2045.

But even though the federal government has opened its ears – at least diplomatically – to industry calls, the NSW state government remains resolute on there being no second airport in the Sydney basin at all.

The state government is said to be close to an announcement on the airport issue.  While the state premier has rejected any airport development in the Sydney area, the NSW treasurer has floated plans for a development in the middle of Botany Bay as a way of easing capacity.


  • Michael Anderson


    Will only hurt the NSW economy not rest of the country.

    BNE, MEL have no stupid curfew.

    CBR & AVV will be taking international flights.

  • Ben


    SACL is right, Kingsford Smith CAN meet demand through to 2045… if the curfew and movement cap are lifted!

    The physical airport is NOT the limitation here, the rediculous restrictions imposed by a government bending to the will of the people that moved under the flight path or around the airport well AFTER it’s creation in the 1920’s!

    Besides the noise these days is much reduced, A380 vs B707… no contest!

  • Anon


    Ben…what airlines are going to want to arrive at YSSY at 2.45am? My guess is none…

  • Brian Price


    well U might be surprised who will want to operate back of the clock. Look at PER there are internationals arriving and departing everynight from midnight to 4 or 5AM particularly the LCCs Air Asia Tiger to SIN and Jetstar plus SAA and Emirates from memory and without looking up the schedule

    Intl and domestic back of the clock ops at PER have been operating for 40 years

  • Anon


    You’re right…I would be surprised

  • Frequent Flyer


    So right Ben and now you have the ludicrous situation where the NSW Government has approved residential development (Tralee) under the flightpath of Canberra Airport, an airport that currently has no curfew, is expanding and looking to take international flights in the future and help to ease pressure of Sydney. Now ask Barry O’Farrell to explain that one after he opposed this development and described it as stupid when he was in Opposition. When you have absurd decisions like that being made by politicians no wonder we are in a mess over airports.

  • Jace


    Michael it would not only hurt nsw it would hurt the entire economy. Sydney brings in the largest amount of passengers. It’s a honey pot that not only benefits nsw but the entire country

  • Ron


    If you look at the “cities that never sleep” around the world, their airports never sleep either. And whilst very few people might want to do Syd – Mel or Bris – Syd at 3:00am, as the minister loves to point out, plenty would love to do it between 11:00pm – midnight or 5:00 – 6:00am. As for international flights, plenty come & go from Melb & Bris at all hours. All you have to do is look at something like flightradar24.com at 11:30pm. Bris & Melb are bustling, whilst Syd is dead. Pretty pathetic really.

    To me, the minister’s objection to lifting the curfew on Sydney, whilst allowing 24/7 flights at other capital cities, is all & only about the fact that his own electorate is right next to Sydney airport. That, to me, is a conflict of interest & a restraint of trade for one’s own political gain.

    Abolishing a curfew is a lot cheaper than building an airport.

  • Aido


    I believe the main issue with Sydney isn’t the curfew or movement cap per se but the actual infrastructure available. If you look at the domestic terminals in particular there is most definatley a lack of available parking at peak times. The gate expansion at T2 will reduce that a little in the short term however it will still become an issue down the track. The priority with domestic services for the airlines are the frequency of services, not capacity.

  • PeterL


    Mmmm what everybody is missing is that Canberra wants to be Sydney’s second airport and it is 24hr now and soon to be international with the new terminal opening shortly.

    With the building of a very fast train link it will be less than an hour to Sydney CBD. A major benefit of building the VFT link is that it will not interfere with existing airports while being built.

    The most important point to note is that the biggest critics of the VFT are the airlines themselves as Canberra/Sydney is a giant cash cow for them all and they are putting money and influence into trying to stop the VFT and have done so in the past. Imagine how scared the airlines are of the VFT, less than an hour to Sydney and without all the hassle…..

  • Anon


    VFT is a white elephant. Studies in the 80s and 90s determined that it would need >30,000 pax per day EACH WAY in order to be economically viable.

    They work in Europe & Japan because of the comparatively short distances and large population centres covered and because of the larghe number of people who live in the numeous towns/villages en route who commute each day. Our population is far too thinly spread, and I would hardly call Canberra, Int’l Airport or not, a large population centre!

    Build Badgery’s Creek or upgrade Richmond now! Upgrade the roads/rail, incentivise the freighters and whatever LCCs/regionals who want to move out there to do so, and you’ll get another 20-30 years out of Mascot.

    At Mascot, accelerate the master plan, expand T2, do the terminal swap sooner, and ADD MORE CUSTOMS & IMMIGRATION desks and luggage belts now!

  • Brendan


    How about putting all regional aircraft movement through bankstown airport with a fast train linking the two airports and the city!
    Problem solved

  • PeterL


    Anon, what good are studies done 20 to 30 years ago??? The recent studies say it can be profitable, you need to update your studies. ACT and NSW government want it as well.

    Anon do you work for the airlines?…..

  • Phil


    No one ever mentions the fact the Sydney airport has a much smaller land size than Melbourne or Brisbane. It is not possible to add extra taxi ways to increase aircraft movement on the ground – this is a major issue according to my mate who flys for Qantas. We need Badgery Creek operational ASAP. The govt owns the land and new housing had to have double glazing and acoustic insulation installed at time of building. Ban all very noisy MD11’s from using Sydney – they make a hell of a lot of noise. As for the noise sharing policy at Sydney Airport, believe me it isn’t fairly distributed. I live in the inner west and we get 90% of the landings and very few take off days.

  • Ron


    Brendan, the idea of using Bankstown for regionals has been mooted & booted. REX is completely opposed to it, as its just too impractical for passengers with connections for other flights. Say you live in Orange & want to go to Brisbane. First you have to fly into Bankstown, get a train to Central (Bankstown & the airports are not on the same line), then change trains to the airport, then find your flight at the domestic terminals… REX & their domestic & international partners don’t want your connection to be at the mercy of Cityrail. And if you want to build a whole new dedicated underground direct train line operated by a private contractor purely for the benefit of regional passengers….no. Industrial & residential property developers are more interested in Bankstown than REX & Qantaslink.

    PeterL, if the VFT between Syd – Can is just Barry Farrell in NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) denial. It’s a fair point that the airlines would oppose it, but respectfully, so does common sense. Canberra is Canberra, & Sydney is Sydney, & never the twain shall meet. The VFT just aint gonna happen. I’ll buy you a beer the day it does.

  • time to get ahead


    It is not just about Sydney anymore.

    Look at the issue in BNE. Typically every morning and every evening there is a 15 to 30 minute holding pattern. This must be costing airlines a fortune. A 50 minute flight from GLT takes an hour and 20 minutes. I saw a SQ flight do 4 holding circuits coming in from SIN, QF16 from LAX did 2 – and the weather was not an issue. BNE is what SYD used to be like before the third runway.

    Then, look at PER. What a mess!

    It is time that this critical infrastructure was sorted out and the politics were put aside. Build Badgerys Creek and sort out everything else ASAP.

    Oh, and Alan Joyce made a pertinent comment – China have been opening 23 new airports a year and the Government has been talking about Sydney airport issues for over 23 years and NOTHING has happened. It is almost criminal to be holding Australia’s economic growth to ransom like this.

  • Benjamin


    Badgery’s creek does not make sense for several reasons. Firstly, the region is far more developed than it was when original plans for the site as an airport were mooted. While a early 1990s report suggested only 1,800 homes would be affected, today we are dealing with ten times as many affected homes since the post 90s and 00s housing boom. The second problem regarding BC is the acute lack of public transportation and congestion of major arterials roads (M4, Parramatta Rd and M5) into the city centre on any given weekday and even weekends (10am-2pm is nightmarish). The last thing travellers desire is a 90 minute + trip from a BC airport into the Sydney CBD (where most tourists and business travellers end up). The final major hurdle is the huge infrastructure expense in setting up a brand new airport. The cost is estimated at $10bn, but history proves it will be at least 50% more than originally costed.

    Now, the sensible thing for Sydney to do is to claim the now vacant land (plenty of it) left by the refinery at Kurnell; build new terminals and additional runways, extend the airport rail link and existing infrastructure. The fuel issue will also be eliminated (getting it to BC is another problem yet addressed) as the airport already exists. There is the added benefit of providing employment in an area hurt by the end of oil refining.

    On an additional note, for those opposing VFT: while Canberra may not be the best choice for a second airport, it should be noted that Sydney to Melbourne is the world’s fifth busiest air corridor for passenger numbers and it would be a perfect route for high speed rail (with Canberra as a stop between). Long term, this would free up many slots at Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne airports.

    Of course, this wouldn’t suit Qantas or Virgin as they make big money from flying in and out of these three cities.note not surprising to note the opponents of VFT as being those with the most to lose from its construction. But I suppose the government could compensate them or give them holdings in an east coast VFT line. And that wouldn’t be totally unreal – Lufthansa already has an agreement with rail between German cities. If I recall, they no longer fly between Munich and Cologne (or Frankfurt and Cologne – one of the two). Instead, you fly into the major airport and you are whisked by train to Cologne. Very smart.

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