Sydney airport restrictions could cost Australia US$6 billion – report

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A report has found that Australia could lose AU$6 billion (US$6.4 billion) over the next 25 years due to air traffic restrictions at Sydney airport.

The study by the Australian and New South Wales governments highlighted the “potential devastation” that would result from continued air capacity limitations at the airport. As well as potentially losing AU$6 billion in nationwide GDP by 2035, the report forecast that the NSW state economy would lose AU$2.3 billion over the same period. It also predicted that without additional capacity, demand would exceed capacity by 54 million passenger movements, and identified a new potential airport development at Badgery’s Creek as “the best solution” for the region’s aviation sector.

There is little room to expand the current Sydney airport
There is little room to expand the current Sydney airport

“The report highlights that without the urgent action and agreement of the Federal and New South Wales governments, billions would be lost across all industries resulting in a contraction in these economies”, said Andrew Jefferies, General Manager of the Tourism Industry Council NSW.

“The joint study… has put together an excellent report that thoroughly canvasses and details all the options that are available to government to solve these concerns,” he added.  

The report’s recommendations include lifting the cap on flight movements from 80 to 85 per hour between the hours of 6am-10am and 3pm-8pm each weekday, and two new possible airport locations – Badgery’s Creek for long-haul services and RAAF Richmond for low-cost operations. It also urged the New South Wales government to commit to developing ground transport links to Sydney airport.

The concept of using Canberra airport as a second regional hub serving Sydney was dismissed due to the distance between Sydney and the Australian capital.

“This is a time for government at all levels to display leadership. It is so easy to take the politically easy option on Sydney airport given that so many careers have been established on the back of anti-airport campaigns. However, this report provides all the necessary data and all the relevant evidence to base a sound decision for local communities, the tourism industry and the state of Federal and New South Wales economies,” Jefferies said.

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