There’s one city in the world that I have been to so rarely, but has left an indelible impression on me – and that’s Sydney.
Sydney Airport as seen from the Sydney Tower – Image GhettoIFE
Sydney Airport however is a pinch-point in some ways – the biggest one for airline operators who have to either wait for either the more curfew to lift, or to get their aircraft on the ground before the night curfew becomes active.
The curfew runs from 23:00 and 06:00 (with limited moments for one hour either way).
In addition, the airport is limited to 80 movements per hour, which when bad weather hits or at peak hours can lead to delays.
As a result, the Australian government has taken the decision rather that to expand the existing Sydney airport any further, they are to build a second airports.
The new airport will be located at Badgerys Creek, approximately 45km (28 miles) from Central Sydney, with construction to begin in 2016 at a cost of A$2.5billion.
New and upgraded road infrastructure will be put in place for the airport to operate, with a new East-West motorway to be built. No indication of public transport infrastructure (such as a Sydney Trains link) will be built as such.
Whilst Sydney Airport will have its existing three runways maintained, initially the new airport will only have one runway – however with no night-time curfew. This should appeal to the low cost carriers, point to point carriers and freight carriers (but not overly to the legacy carriers who might see this akin to the London Heathrow and London Gatwick situation – which prestigious airport do you wish to land at is the question).
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce seems happy about this, stating:
“Qantas has long supported the building of a second airport at Badgerys Creek, as have a number of detailed studies. After decades of debate, we applaud today’s announcement by the Prime Minister
The role of second airports has been well-established in several of the world’s major capitals. Sydney is the key gateway for air traffic in-and-out of Australia and the benefits of having two major airports will be felt nationwide.
Airports are key pieces of infrastructure that facilitate a huge amount of economic activity, and they take a lot of time to plan and build. We look forward to being part of this process as Badgerys Creek moves closer to reality”
It’s going to be a while until we see the results of this, but the new airport could provide a reasonable relief for the existing limited infrastructure. For those carriers who do choose to fly late night and very early morning flights, this could add extra capacity.
However, that lack of public transport infrastructure is not what I would call a good sign, unless plans are afoot for a coach network to clog up the roads more…