Australian Airports Association: Keep building runways during crisis

written by Adam Thorn | March 17, 2020

The Australian Airports Association has urged the industry to keep building runways and terminal infrastructure ready for a post-coronavirus rebound.

The rallying cry comes despite the organisation, which represents 340 airports, revealing it expects the crisis to deliver a $500 million hit to revenue this year.

Chief executive Simon Bourke said, “The recovery will be strong, just as we’ve seen in the past, and we want to give our partners confidence that we are ready to support them as they rebuild.”

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In a mixed statement released on Tuesday, the association warned that the current shutdown will have a huge effect on taxi drivers and retailers operating out of terminals, just as much as it will hurt airline staff.

Bourke said, “We know that every part of the industry is feeling the impact of this situation and our airports are working with all of the airlines, retailers and businesses that rely on us and the passengers we serve.

“At the same time, airports’ costs change very little. We still need to keep the runways open and the lights on in the terminals. We still need to keep our airports safe and secure as we welcome the passengers that continue to fly.”

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However, he urged the industry to prepare for a strong rebound when lockdown measures and advice ends.

“In order for airline businesses to recover when these challenges pass, airports must keep building the runways and terminal infrastructure we know they will need when then industry rebounds,” Bourke said.

“The recovery will be strong, just as we’ve seen in the past, and we want to give our partners confidence that we are ready to support them as they rebuild.”

The association said the total hit to airports would amount to half a billion dollars.

It revealed that for international passenger numbers in February: Sydney Airport’s traffic was down 16.8 per cent compared with the prior year; Melbourne Airport saw a 17 per cent fall, with 150,000 fewer flying; while Brisbane Airport experienced a 7.7 per cent decrease, with 34,000 fewer flying.

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