The Tourism & Transport Forum, Australia’s leading tourism and transport advocacy group, today welcomed the Federal Government’s commitment to build the new Western Sydney Airport, but called for improved management of the hourly movement cap at Sydney Airport to meet continued growth in air traffic.
TTF Chief Executive, Margy Osmond, said construction of a new airport and a review of the current hourly movement cap at Sydney Airport, without any changes to the current curfew, were critical and complementary needs, as the Sydney air transport market continues to grow.
“Now that the Federal Government has committed to build Western Sydney Airport, it must also take action, in close consultation with the community, to address the constraints at Sydney Airport which limit aircraft movements during its operating hours, and impact the national air transport network and the visitor economy,” Ms Osmond said.
“In the first quarter of this year alone, Sydney Airport has experienced growth of almost six per cent in international traffic.
“Airlines have committed more than 750,000 additional seats to the Sydney market for the whole of this year – equivalent to 1,550 additional Airbus A380 super jumbos – and growth will only continue.
“The current airport must be able to grow while the Western Sydney facility is built over the next nine years, and a key means of improving efficiency is to remove constraints which limit the airport to 20 movements every 15 minutes.
“The 15 minute restriction limits aircraft movements to 20 per quarter hour, and prevents airlines from rescheduling to the next 15 minute block in order to recover from delays.
“Removing the 15 minute limit does not increase the number of flights, it simply adds more operating flexibility within the existing movement cap and enables more efficient operations at Sydney Airport.”
Ms Osmond welcomed the Government’s commitment to move to quickly progress construction of the new airport, saying Western Sydney’s population of 2 million was slightly smaller than Brisbane, around the same as Perth, and bigger than Adelaide.
“If you list the 50 largest cities in Australia today, Western Sydney as a single entity would come in at number four,” Ms Osmond said.
“Of the top 50, more than 30 have airports which are served by Australia’s major airlines or their subsidiaries or associates, and of these cities, 12 – most of them much smaller than western Sydney – are served by international airlines.”