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NSW minister wants airport cap lifted

written by Jordan Chong | May 23, 2014

The NSW government is calling for Sydney's movement cap to be eased. (Adriana Gaia)
The NSW government is calling for Sydney’s movement cap to be eased. (Adriana Gaia)

The NSW government has begun lobbying federal ministers to lift the hourly movement cap at Sydney Airport during peak periods.

NSW deputy premier and minister for tourism Andrew Stoner says he has spoken to federal minister for trade and development Andrew Robb and infrastructure minister Warren Truss regarding the 80 aircraft movements an hour cap at Kingsford-Smith.

“In both of those gentlemen you have an abounding of common sense,” Stoner told the Tourism & Transport Forum’s outlook conference in Sydney on Friday.

“The early indications I think are fairly good.”

A maximum of 80 aircraft movements per hour are allowed at Kingsford-Smith airport, which is also hamstrung by a curfew between 11pm and 6am.

While Stoner welcomed the move to build a second airport at Badgerys Creek, he said more needed to be done now to improve air services into Sydney.

“When you look at international comparisons on the number of aircraft movements and the distance between aircraft, there’s certainly plenty of scope to have a look at the cap,” Stoner said.


“I would personally urge my federal colleagues to have a good look at the curfew as well.

“I have got plenty of examples of just ridiculous, nonsensical cases that inconveniences not only the industry and its profitability but also the end users, the passengers.”

Etihad Airways chief executive James Hogan, also speaking at the TTF event, said artificial limits such as the cap and curfew were a challenge for airlines.

“We have had situations in the past couple of years where the aircraft has taxied out and due to thunderstorms we have had to hold,” Hogan told the conference.

“When the thunderstorms cleared because we have actually gone into curfew we have had to come back into the terminal and deplane those passengers.

“Other airports in the world in fact you would be given a dispensation to take off.”

In a newspaper column, Truss said a geographically constrained Kingsford-Smith airport would cost the economy “dearly” in terms of economic activity and job opportunities.

“The claim that Sydney’s airport is operating at about two-thirds of its theoretical capacity is true, however, only if movements are averaged across the entire week,” Truss wrote in The Australian newspaper on Friday.

“During the crucial weekday peak periods, there is less than 10 per cent spare capacity available and this will soon be used.”


  • Ben


    This should have been the governments first action before they went and finally selected Badgery’s Creek.

    I wish the minister well, but I doubt any federal minister has the political fortitude to make any changes! Although after the budget they can’t get too much more unpopular can they?

  • Ben


    Reading this, I suspect Andrew Stoner doesn’t live under the flightpath. And by flightpath, I mean anywhere from Leichhardt to Rockdale to Coogee. Sydney Airport is already dangerously too close to houses and the majority of the city population, compared with other world airports.Please Andrew, spend your time making a world class airport connected with world class trains for the wider working class population.

  • Mac Carter


    The people of Golbourn would love to have a busy airport near their town.
    There is plenty of cheap real estate, the terrain is fairly flat and there is major transport infstructure already in place that links Australia’s two largest cities.
    Western Sydney is only a short train ride away for passengers.
    Road and rail transit times for freight are only overnight to Melbourne and Sydney.
    Airport runways can be located miles away from population, eliminating any concerns for residents with respect to aircraft noise and or aircraft malfunctions on takeoff or landing.
    Golborn seems to be an alternative that everyone involved in Avation has not considered.

  • Henk Luf


    They might as well widen the scope and capacity of the airport noting the the 2300-0600 is being breached every day in any case. QF2 is arriving daily prior to 0600 as are other aircraft and not a word from anyone in authority.

  • Dave


    Ben if you live where you are talking about then nobody feels any symapthy for you or your neighbours. The airport is essential infrastructure and its current state of strangulation is costing the ecconomy dearly Hey, you all had a choice where you bought your houses knowing fully well it was there! There are plenty of suburbs that offer cheap housing both in the past and nowadays, so no-one buys the “it was all that we could afford” bleating. Wasn’t the government funded noise insulation scheme enough for you, you just keep wanting more?

    Man up and move out if the (much, much less these days than the straight through jet pipes of the 60’s and 70’s) noise affects you. You lot should be able to have either the movement cap or the curfew but not both. Sydney does not need a second airport, just an efficient one – albeit with better transport links to the West and North West!

    You airport NIMBY folks are the laughing stock of Sydney….

  • David


    Hellooooo? Welcome to the real world. The restrictions are ridiculous. in the late ’90s/early 2000s I was GM at Chicago-Midway for a major US carrier (have a look on Google how close the airport fence is to houses).

    It operated at a very high tempo 300,000 movements a year compared to SYD 326,000 and with filthy weather for 3-4 months a year. Busy stuff and few complaints from locals. Basic economics say that an airport should be run to a safe capacity/frequency not an artificial political one.

    Sorry but if you bought a house under the flight path you get no sympathy from me. The airport has been there for nearly 100 years… Ask people who buy houses next to railway lines if they get free insulation.

    Just silly…

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