The Australian and International Pilots Association (AIPA) is calling for a second Sydney airport to be built as soon as possible at Badgerys Creek, stepping up the pressure just days after a federal election campaign that saw now prime minister-elect Tony Abbott promise a decision on the contentious issue.
Newly-elected AIPA President Nathan Safe said Sydney all but stood alone as a major global city without a second alternate airport option, and that this caused numerous problems for passengers and pilots.
“Due to the density issues that arise from having only one major airport servicing a city of Sydney’s size, pilots landing at Sydney Airport tend to have to wait longer to find a gate, which frustrates passengers and triggers knock-on inefficiencies. An extra airport could do much to ease this situation,” Safe said.
“When pilots can’t land at Kingsford Smith due to weather or traffic issues, they are forced to use Canberra, Melbourne or Brisbane as alternates. Whereas London, Kuala Lumpur, New York and just about any other major city, the first alternate airport is within the city itself. The current situation in Sydney badly inconveniences passengers.”
AIPA said aircraft arriving at Sydney are required to carry 20 minutes’ holding fuel, which was “more than most major airports” and adding considerable cost to airline operations.
Safe said Badgerys Creek was clearly the best option for a second Sydney airport. Having a second airport out of town – for example, in Canberra – is simply impractical. There’s a reason there is no real precedent for it in the world.
“Badgerys Creek is by far the best option and we urge Tony Abbott and Barry O’Farrell to now get on and make it happen.”
Tony Abbott said a Coalition government would make a decision on the highly contentious second airport issue during a first term of government. At state level, the NSW Business Chamber also backs Badgerys Creek, an economic study showing significant gains for southwestern Sydney.