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NSW government solution eludes Sydney Airport

written by australianaviation.com.au | December 14, 2012

A case of line up and wait. Airlines, passengers and the community are tiring quickly of the ongoing political intransigence over Sydney Airport. (Adriana Gaia)

The NSW government has released proposals to ease congestion at and around Sydney Airport – but immediately had them scuttled by the federal government.

The state government’s suggestion of modestly easing the artificially restrictive movement cap from 80 per hour to 85 and to allow more flights during the curfew shoulder period, the latter having directional and noise limitations to ameliorate noise impacts, would have added longevity to Sydney Airport at a time congestion is severely  impairing its efficiency and economic benefit.

The movement capacity adjustments complemented a plan to improve road access to and around the airport.

However, the state-federal ping-pong match seems set to continue with the federal minister for infrastructure and transport rejecting the plan in favour of a second airport.

While Sydney Airport may sit geographically in the middle of state planning territory, federal policy decisions all but override state considerations, something the current federal minister appears to have exercised abruptly again on this occasion despite the common sense proposal from state authorities.


The nexus does nothing to promote the possibility of a true solution at either state or federal levels, with both governments being highly sensitive to the development of a second airport in the Sydney region. In the case of the state government it doesn’t want one at all while the federal politicians continue to favour a site in Sydney’s outskirts.

Airlines remain the pawns in the equation. While they – like Sydney Airports Corporation of course – would welcome a sensible and pragmatic adjustment to the movement cap and curfew at Sydney Airport, industry is pressing hard in unison for Badgerys Creek to be re-considered federally.  On this point airlines are pitching at two adversaries. The current federal government abandoned Badgerys Creek in 2009 and at state level they don’t want more politically-antagonistic aviation developments in the Sydney area.

If only as a temporary easing the NSW government has actually come up with something sensible by way of its plan.  Without anything at all – which is what’s more likely – the airline industry in Australia and the related economic benefit that comes from aviation will be stymied.

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Comments (10)

  • Tuts


    The problem ofcourse with the State govts position is that it’s short term. Increasing the movement cap would get filled up within a matter of years. A second airport is really the only option to alleviate Sydney’s airport congestion issues. Furthermore the airport needs to operate 24 hours. We’ve already seen how airlines are now opting to fly into other ports in Australia that do operate 24 hours.

  • Dante


    Sydney’s only option is an new airport outside of it’s metro area that is linked by a fast rail service to the CBD as they have done in Hong Kong and Shanghai. With a fast rail link the airport can then be 50 or more kilometres from the CBD. Any new airport should replace not compliment the existing airport. Large international airports need space to grow and to operate 24/7, neither conditions are met by the current Sdyney airport. Sydney is a modest sized city by world standard and does not need two airports, it just needs an airport that doesn’t have the restrictions the current one has.

  • Anon


    Hong Kong doesn’t have a “fast” rail link!

  • NJP


    The Govt’s should face the greater needs of NSW not the few voters who complain – solution
    Extend 34R over the road like 34L for parallel A380 operations and move the welfare housing schemes under the flightpath whilst prime real estate as in The Rocks gets sold for premium housing. Government should make the unpopular but right decisions for the sake of the country not to fold to the noise from the public!! Ba humbug & merry Christmas!

  • Lashwood


    This could be seen to be the start of an attempt to remove the curfew and cap all together by the Government. What we need urgently is a replacement or second airport in the Sydney basin, fully operational within a decade instead of procrastinating over the issue and playing fiddle to tourist and transport lobby groups or airline company’s fat cat pockets.
    The prime land at KSA could be sold to make way for three airports around Sydney North South and west

  • Frequent Flyer


    The NSW Government also shot itslef in the foot when it approved residential development at South Tralee and under the flight path of Canberra airport. This is the same project Barry O’Farrell opposed when in opposition because of the noise impact on residents and the impact it would have on future operations at Canberra Airport, the same airport he touted would help to ease congestion in Sydney.

  • Lee Anderson


    Sydney already has a second, under utilized airport with a rail link that requires equally minimal upgrade. It’s called Newcastle! Upgrade Newcastle airport, upgrade the rail link between Newcastle and Sydney (for much less than the cost of a new airport at Badgery Creek) and hey Presto, problem solved!

  • Tom


    Newcastle airport is a RAAF base mate, if they were considering that they wouldn’t have struck off Richmond as a solution.

  • Tuts


    The only logical solution for a second airport is Badgerys. Anything that involved high speed rail would make the airport uneconomical from the get go (look at how successful the Airport Link was). With Badgerys Creek you have rail within close proximity to the airport, major roads within cooee & not to mention the employment possibilities. I do understand that the area is in need of major infrastructure upgrading.

  • Ken Cannane


    Western Sydney is growing at a rate that employment cannot keep abreast of the growth. Unemployment is becoming an issue. It is also moving the centre of the Sydney basin population further west. Airports attract infrastructure and many small businesses adjacent to the airport to support the efficient operation of a global airport. Shift all air freight from Sydney airport would enable distribution of that freight from Badgery Creek area. Western Sydney population growth clearly supports a 24hour International Airport that would allocate part of the airport for aircraft maintenance. Badgery Creek airport would enable the west to benefit and prosper – time to elect the political party that commits to building the air[port.

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