A new Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) report demonstrates that making small changes to the existing operating restrictions would unlock productivity, attract more international services to Sydney and allow more flexibility for airlines to manage delays in the event of unavoidable conditions.
“Last night’s weather was a prime example of the current inflexible curfew restrictions causing thousands of travellers to be diverted interstate at significant cost and inconvenience, simply because some weather-impacted flights were not permitted to land in Sydney after 11pm,” Sydney Airport Chief Executive Officer Kerrie Mather said.
“The joint federal-state study released in March 2012 identified the need to maximise the use of Sydney Airport. TTF has just released the first thorough and analytical review of the myriad of policy and other issues preventing the airport from operating to a truly international standard.
“We support government identifying a site for a second airport, however, the immediate task should be to look at ways to make Sydney Airport work most efficiently.
“This report – by the peak body for tourism and transport in Australia, representing more than 200 members, including major tourism operators such as hotel groups, airlines and airports – identifies three practical steps to enable Sydney to meet its aviation capacity needs for the next 20 to 30 years.
“Sydney Airport has the capacity and the infrastructure to service Sydney as its primary airport, it’s just not being fully utilised due to a range of restrictions that don’t reflect modern aviation.
“Permitting just 11 more services during the shoulder period each week would increase the number of slots over the year by almost 50 per cent and would have minimal impact on residents if these slots were restricted to quieter new-generation aircraft like the A380.
“We also support TTF’s call for a more sensible way of administering the cap. Because it is measured in 15-minute blocks, delays often result as air traffic control is required to hold services on the ground because the cap has been exceeded.
“The recommendations in TTF’s report could enhance noise sharing, reduce total aircraft noise and emissions, improve passenger experience, increase airline efficiency, enhance aircraft capacity to regional communities, increase airport capacity and enhance national productivity.
“We also support TTF’s recommendation that, in the medium term, the capacity of existing airports in the Sydney basin should be utilised. For example, Richmond is well-primed to service activities that are not core to tourism or business in Sydney, such as more general aviation, specialist freight and helicopter services. “And for the long-term, with the government to shortly release its feasibility report on a Wilton site, the tourism industry’s support for Badgerys Creek highlights that choosing a site for a second airport has to be demand-led.
“Like other two-airport cities overseas, a second airport in Sydney would work to complement Sydney Airport.
“Both the TTF report and joint study found Sydney Airport’s convenient location close to the CBD and major tourist attractions was a major competitive advantage for the state, and that some restrictions around its use should be eased to maximise its operation and efficiency.
“Aviation, through tourism and its pivotal role to transport and logistics, is crucial to the economy.
“A typical international jumbo service contributes $120 million a year to the economy and creates 1,500 full-time jobs, while an A380 service from China would contribute $388 million a year to the economy and create 5,000 full time jobs.
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