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Sydney Metro Airports blame grass mowing fees for 500% rent increase

written by Sandy Milne | March 11, 2020

Sydney Metro Airports has cited the cost of mowing the gliding strip at Camden Airport as one of the reasons for increasing rent by more than 500 per cent for one tenant.

Yesterday, Australian Aviation reported that two of Sydney’s oldest gliding clubs are facing enormous rental increases.

Southern Cross Gliding Club (SCGC) is facing a rise of 225 per cent and Sydney Gliding a jump of 550 per cent.  SCGC president Justin Couch called the move a “short-term, naked money grab”.

However, Sydney Metro Airports responded by claiming the rise was necessary to fund ongoing improvements of Camden Airport’s facilities and claimed the initial rate was actually at a special discount.


SMA told Aviation Australia, “Camden Airport has been proud to serve the local aviation community, creating economic value for the Camden and greater western Sydney area for more than 80 years.

“Historically we have provided special interest users such as the Southern Cross Gliding Club and Sydney Gliding with tenancies at the airport at heavily discounted rates.

“However, in order to be able to fund ongoing improvement of the airport’s facilities, now and into the future, for the benefit of all its users, we are now seeking to negotiate lease renewals for the gliding clubs at fair market rates.”

SMA stated that the spike in rent was tied to costs of maintaining the club’s facilities.

“The cost of mowing the gliding strip at the airport alone is more than $20,000 [per annum],” said one spokesperson.

The two parties are also in dispute over the clubs’ facilities, including a hangar and a clubhouse.

SMA has stated that it has offered to invest in these in tandem with government grants awarded February 2019, and order their removal at the end of the lease, at no cost to the clubs.

The company also rebuked claims that sufficient notice was not provided to the two clubs of the revised lease conditions.

According to SMA, “we value all our customers and have been communicating with them on the matter for the previous six months”.

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Comments (2)

  • Bernard Samms


    It would save a lot of money then if the clubs mowed the strip. That is what our Tasmanian Gliding Club does. Members charge nothing to mow the area and share the load. Get a Toro and start mowing. Have a beer at the end of a hard few hours work and get SMA to drop the charges by $20k!

  • Ian


    $20k a year is a bit much even using a contractor.. Armidale Regional Council are trying to do something similar with Armidale Aero club, and land is not in short supply either.

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