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Avalon CEO wants same operating perks as WSI

written by Adam Thorn | October 9, 2023

The CEO of Avalon Airport has called on the federal government to grant his business the same operating perks as Western Sydney Airport.

Tony Brun told The Australian Financial Review on Sunday that poor air traffic control and firefighter hours are hampering his airport’s ability to attract passenger and service flights despite its flight paths causing virtually no noise to locals.

“A lot of the discussion is around Western Sydney being the centre of the universe,” he said. “Well, actually, western Melbourne is much bigger.”

WSI is expected to open in late 2026, with Qantas and Jetstar the first two airlines to formally sign on. Construction on the first parallel runway began in March 2022.


However, Brun believes the new NSW airport is being given better support than Avalon, the second busiest airport in Victoria and home to the International Airshow.

He added the airport’s proximity far from major international hub airports means aircraft are more likely to arrive later and, therefore, require more flexibility with operating times.

“We’re not looking for government funding for our airport, but we want policy equivalents to what the government is going to give itself at Western Sydney,” he said.

“But we need equivalence of service and reliability for our air traffic control operating hours, for our firefighting operating hours, for the Border Force and the biosecurity operations.

“They’re all committed and guaranteed for Western Sydney, but for us, they’re not, and that creates problems for airlines wanting to operate here and even freight operations.”

The intervention comes months after Qantas announced up to 10 Jetstar and five Qantas narrow-body aircraft will fly from WSI within the first year of operation.

It’s hoped the group will operate 25,000 flights carrying around four million passengers per annum to destinations including Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

According to Simon Hickey, CEO of Western Sydney International, the “substantial” Qantas and Jetstar presence will send a strong signal about the new airport’s offering to airlines and passengers.

“We’re enabling WSI with the latest technology, which will deliver an easier and more seamless travel experience. Qantas and Jetstar passengers are going to love flying from WSI, and we can’t wait to welcome them,” he said.

“WSI is being designed for growth and will eventually become Sydney’s biggest airport. We have a roadmap to grow to 82 million annual passengers, around the size of the world’s major airports, such as Dubai and London Heathrow.”

The airport earlier this year published a review of its fuel supply options, which called for the NSW government to prioritise the facilitation of pipeline corridors to WSI.

Initial fuel supplies will be delivered by B-double trucks, which WSI chief corporate affairs officer Scott MacKillop noted “is the case for many airports across Australia in their growth phases, including Adelaide, the Gold Coast and Canberra”.

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