May 2011 Volume 16, Issue 1, http://www.noaircraftnoise.org.au
Albanese admits Sydney Airport cannot cope
The Federal Transport Minister, Anthony Albanese has admitted again that the airport cannot cope with the expected increase in traffic. Albanese told the Sydney Morning Herald that “Sydney needs a second airport sooner rather than later. Without action the national economy will be constrained with a negative impact on growth and jobs.”
An analysis by the consultants Booz and Company shows that bad weather will cause increasing delays at Sydney Airport, which will flow on to disrupt flights throughout the country. By 2020 a strong crosswind during two hours of the morning peak would cause delays over the following five hours. The analysis was prepared for a federal government inquiry into a second airport.
Paul Fitzgerald, former Marrickville Greens councillor, wrote in a letter to the Herald: “Sydney does not need a second airport. It needs a replacement airport.”
“A second airport would make things far worse for the people who live under Sydney Airport’s flight paths because it would allow aircraft smaller than jets to be removed. The 27 percent of air traffic capacity that is now taken by those planes would then be available for large jets – which are noisier, more polluting and more dangerous.”
“If a replacement airport were built outside the Sydney basin and connected by fast train, the site of the current airport could become a residential and employment precinct.”
Albanese has ruled out consideration of a replacement airport which means he is failing to even look at the most viable alternative.
Noise limits artificial says Sydney Airport
Sydney Airport is constrained by an 80 movements an hour cap, intended to limit the noise impact on residents. The slot manager said there is increasing pressure on peak hour slots with seven hours a day when airlines want more than 80 flights per hour.
Sydney Airport’s response is to ask for the cap to be lifted in a submission to the Productivity Commission. “The 80 movements per hour cap is an arbitrary regulatory cap that does not reflect the capacity of the infrastructure at Sydney Airport,” they told the Herald. The airport would like regional aircraft exempted from the cap, so that they can cram more large noisy jets through in peak hours.
Who cares about the noise which continues to rise? The noise from the airport is way above the Australian Standards for aircraft noise in residential areas, but these standards are not enforced on Australian airports.
Sites named include Wilton
Wilton, the best near city site for a major airport to replace the present inadequate operation, was named in the list in the second airport story. Wilton is just 20km south of Campbelltown and was assessed in 1985 as a possible site for a major second airport for Sydney. Unlike Badgerys Creek, it has not had large scale housing built nearby.
Far out sites mentioned include Williamstown, north of Newcastle, and Canberra, both too far to be any use as a new Sydney airport. Suburban locations like Bankstown, Richmond and Camden have too much nearby housing for the existing small airports to take regular jet traffic.
The Central Coast was also listed as a possible second airport site. There was a proposal in the 1990’s to expand the small airport at Warnervale, just north of Wyong. Wyong Council wanted a 24 hour airport with 65,000 flights a year. Residents took the council to court and lost, with costs awarded against them. The Carr Labor Government intervened, paid the residents costs and limited the airport’s size. There has been a lot of new housing in the area since then.
Sydney Airport owners accused of avoiding tax in Denmark
Denmark’s largest broadsheet “Politiken” has published allegations against MAp Airports (part owner of Copenhagen airport and main shareholder in Sydney Airport), of exploiting a tax loophole. MAp is accused of avoiding withholding tax to the tune of $100m on earnings from the country’s main airport at Copenhagen. Map was previously known as Macquarie Airports, before it paid the parent company, Macquarie Bank, $345 million to cease managing it.
The three major stakeholders in the airport are MAp (30.8% and formerly managed by Macquarie Group), the Danish Government (39%), and a Macquarie-managed fund called Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 3 (26.9%). The allegations which are being investigated have been denied by the chairman of Copenhagen Airport and by MAp.
Make public transport to the airport cheaper
The NSW Labor Government started subsidising fares on the privately owned rail line to the airport just before it left office. This move resulted in more people using the line as ticket prices are now the same as on other rail lines. However the only stations subsidised were Green Square and Mascot, not the two airport stations.
Recent NSW Parliamentary Budget Office analysis suggests that buying the rail line would be a better deal than subsidising the private owners for the extra cost of the fares on an ongoing basis. The price tag for the rail line is expected to be $300m or less.
What better way to increase usage of the rail line? Fares would be cheaper for now and the future. If the rail line is more popular with airport users, the roads to the airport will be less congested, and we will have less cars parking at the airport for exorbitant rates.
Dick Smith safe in Terry Hills
Aviation personality and Terry Hills resident, Dick Smith, has promoted the big quiet planes myth. In a letter to the Herald, he said “a stable population, coupled with quieter and larger aircraft, would render Sydney Airport sufficient for our long-term needs.” For Dick’s information, the big new “quiet” Airbus A380 is right up there with all the other regular noisy jets, but is slightly quieter than the Boeing 747, a design whose first version flew in the 1970’s.
Airport monopoly allows price gouging
Sydney Airport sits on a monopoly. There is no alternative if you want to fly into or out of Sydney. So they are able to put up prices for services like parking and get away with it.
Having a monopoly also means they do not have to provide a good service, or provide for all Sydney’s air traffic needs. Privatisation does not work with a monopoly which is only partly regulated.
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