The Regional Aviation Association of Australia (RAAA) has rejected new calls for regional airline operations to be moved from Sydney Airport to Bankstown, labelling Bankstown Airport, in Sydney’s southwest, as “commercially and operationally impossible”.
Moving regional airline flights from Bankstown is often suggested as a way of relieving some of the capacity constraints at Sydney Airport, but regional access to Australia’s busiest airport is currently guaranteed via government legislation.
“Regional aviation is a vital part of the national aviation infrastructure and regional passengers have every right to access Sydney Airport and to benefit from the same connectivity enjoyed by domestic and international passengers. The RAAA will be making this point regularly in the lead up to the next federal election,” RAAA chief executive Paul Tyrrell said.
Tyrell noted that not only does Bankstown lack connectivity to domestic and international flights for regional passengers, but its runways are too short for regional airliners such as the Saab 340 and Metro series to takeoff at maximum weights, even on a cold day, thus limiting aircraft range and/or revenue payloads.
Earlier this week the federal government announced it was extending protected access for regional airlines to Sydney Airport through to 2016.
“Sydney Airport is approaching capacity and regional airlines face real pressures to maintain their access in that environment,” Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said in a June 24 joint statement with Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury.
“Extending current arrangements until 2016 ensures commercial pressures do not push regional airlines out, in favour of larger commercial interstate and international airlines.”
Part of that extension has seen the Assistant Treasure amend the rules governing regional airline access to Sydney Airport to limit price increases to regional airlines to be no greater than CPI.