Sydney Airport CEO Kerrie Mather has called for more flexibility in the curfew to lift productivity and better manage delays in the event of unavoidable conditions.
The comments were instigated by adverse weather in the aftermath of the tropical storm that caused widespread severe flooding in Queensland, with delayed flights unable to land or depart at Sydney causing disruption to thousands of travellers, Mather claimed.
“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,” Mather contested.
The relaxation of federal government-imposed artificial limitations on capacity have been discussed in a paper published by the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) that demonstrates the benefits small changes to restrictions could bring.
“Permitting just 11 more services during the shoulder period each week would double the number of slots over the year and would have minimal impact on residents if these slots were restricted to quieter new-generation aircraft like the A380,” Mather said.
“We also support the 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 TTF and Sydney Airport argue the economic stimulus generated by the additional movements would be material.
“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,” Mather concluded.