Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has called on the federal government to move ahead with plans for a second Sydney airport despite opposition from NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell.
In an opinion piece for the Daily Telegraph, Joyce said overcrowding at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith had “got to the stage now it just can’t go much longer” and called on the government to cement plans for a second airport
“Passengers leaving Melbourne or Canberra on time can be stuck for 30 minutes above Sydney because of congestion, missing meetings or getting home late to the family,” Joyce said.
The Qantas boss threw his support behind a recent government study that recommended Badgerys Creek or Wilton as the best sites for a new airport. Both major political parties have ruled out Badgerys Creek due to heavy residential development, but support appears to be coalescing around Wilton despite strong local opposition.
O’Farrell, however, has vowed to oppose a second airport anywhere in the Sydney basin and has instead proposed expanding Canberra Airport and linking it to Sydney via high-speed rail. But Joyce said Canberra was too far away to serve as a viable option.
“I don’t think [O’Farrell’s] position makes sense,” Joyce said. “I don’t think Canberra works as an alternative, it’s too far away.”
Joyce’s comments are his strongest yet on the subject and are likely to increase pressure on O’Farrell, whose position is also at odds with that of the federal opposition.