Although he may have committed to doing something about a second airport for Sydney re-elected, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese continues to stifle both airport capacity and economic stimulus, recently removing three vital early-morning slots from Qantas.
The slots, which had been granted for flights arriving between 0500 and 0600, were pivotal to Qantas’s renewed push in to Asia. Under the Curfew Act, 24 flights are had been approved to arrive before the curfew officially lifts at 0600, those flights being subject to tight noise-limiting operational constraint including not being permitted to overfly Albanese’s electorate in inner-Sydney.
However, as reported in The Daily Telegraph, Albanese’s office evidently rejected a recent request from Qantas to retain the thrice-weekly flights from Singapore, thus reducing the current approvals from 24 to 21.
Each daily international flight generates some $388 million in economic benefit and supports 5,000 jobs, the Telegraph reported.
So it seems unfathomable that Albanese has continued to wind back the pre-curfew approvals even further following the recent disapproval of the Qantas Singapore flights. Indeed under the Act, up to 35 flights are permitted, though the airport has never operated at that level despite the legislated ability to do so.
As a result, Sydney Airport Corporation says only 60 per cent of available capacity can be realised.