NSW Treasurer Mike Baird backs more runways, no new airport for Sydney, Andrew Clennell, Daily Telegraph, November 12, 2012

From Joint Study into Aviation Capacity in the Sydney Region for Infrastructure Australia March 2012 

The Steering Committee considers that:
• Increasing the capacity of Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport by expanding the size of the airport or by developing additional runways in the Botany Bay region are not realistic options.
• Options for changing the legislated cap on hourly movements would provide some additional capacity, but will not meet the capacity gap in the medium and long term, particularly in the peak periods. Increasing the movement cap to 85 movements per hour (the practical capacity for the runway configuration) for all non-curfew hours would only provide a six per cent increase in the total slots available to be allocated.
• Limiting the growth of new services by smaller aircraft at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport would assist in reserving the remaining available slots for larger international and domestic aircraft and lead to more efficient use of the asset. However, it would not meet the medium to long term capacity gap and it would adversely impact regional air travellers and regional communities’ access to the Airport.
• Bankstown and Richmond aerodromes can be upgraded and made available to cater for a level of civil RPT traffic. However, Bankstown and Richmond can only meet segments of the RPT market with their existing site configurations and they do not provide a solution to the capacity needs of forecast international and domestic RPT services.
• Canberra and Williamtown aerodromes cannot take the role of Sydney’s second RPT airport, but need to be protected to grow to meet forecast segments of their catchment markets, including overnight air freight at Canberra.
• The consideration of a future High Speed Rail (HSR) system linking Sydney to other cities does not remove the need to act to provide additional aviation capacity. HSR and additional aviation capacity should not be considered mutually exclusively. HSR could provide an alternative for some domestic travel between cities in south eastern Australia, but is not an alternative for much of the Sydney aviation passenger demand. There is a range of factors including frequency, travel time, cost and station location which will affect the extent of substitution. HSR cannot be expected to be the solution for aviation capacity challenges.

It is clear that by 2030, a second RPT airport will be required to be operational to supplement the capacity of Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport. To provide for this requirement, governments will need within the next five years to have determined the location and commenced investment into another airport site capable of handling large RPT aircraft.


NSW Treasurer Mike Baird has backed the Botany Bay plan. Source: The Daily Telegraph

AN ambitious plan to build a fourth and fifth runway at Sydney Airport on reclaimed land in Botany Bay has won the backing of state Treasurer Mike Baird.

By declaring it a worthwhile option to break the impasse over a second hub, Mr Baird has radically departed from his boss Premier Barry O’Farrell, who called for Canberra airport to be expanded and linked to Sydney by a high-speed rail network.  “We should consider the proposal in detail,” Mr Baird said. “It would seem an opportunity to maximise existing infrastructure without impacting the curfew before new infrastructure is needed.”

The Sydney Airport expansion, originally proposed a decade ago by IAC Aviation, was costed at $5.2 billion – or half the cost of a second airport – in this year’s joint federal-state study on Sydney aviation capacity.

Voting Results as at 8.30pm:  Are runways in Botany Bay the best solution for Sydney’s airport expansion?

  • Yes  59.17% (4235 votes)
  • No  40.83% (2922 votes)

The proposal for Sydney Airport South includes developing two parallel runways each up to 4000m in length, separated by 760m in the southern part of Botany Bay. The runways will be between Cronulla and Sutherland on the west side and Kurnell on the east, where residents already have to put up with an oil refinery, the existing airport, a desalination plant and sewage run-off.

Sydney Airport

Sydney Airport

Source: The Daily Telegraph

Mr Baird said he believed the Sydney Airport company, federal and state governments could all contribute to the cost of funding the plan. The latest development in the airport saga comes as The Daily Telegraph has learned that the federal government’s own study into its preferred site for a second hub at Wilton has raised serious concerns about the project’s viability. “It’s essentially not going to end up where the government wants it to,” one aviation industry source said. A senior federal government source confirmed: “There are issues around the site, there’ll be a lot of environmental (issues).” The proposed Wilton site is near a water catchment area which supplies Sydney and Wollongong. Coal mining could also cause subsidence and there are issues surrounding the cost of construction of transport links. Federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese rejected Badgerys Creek as an option for a second airport because marginal state and federal seats would be impacted. Mr Albanese declined to speculate on the Wilton study, due early next year, saying he had “yet to receive the report in any form as the study was still under way”. But he backed away from Sydney Airport South, saying it would only lead to greater congestion.

“Without a second airport, this congestion will only get worse,” Mr Albanese said. “The Joint Aviation Study showed that by next year, morning peak trains will be at capacity before they reach the airport stations.” Meanwhile, Mr O’Farrell appeared to stymie his own Canberra plan when the state government approved the Tralee housing development near Canberra airport earlier this month. Sydney Airport chairman Max Moore-Wilton, who is also an Infrastructure NSW board member, attacked the latest expansion plan and said the government should take up a recommendation in the joint federal-state study to increase landings per hour up from the cap of 80. “Even an increase of five movements per hour would make a difference,” he said. “You don’t build infrastructure if you don’t need it. “Sydney Airport’s not short of capacity, it’s restricted. “It’s an absolute disgrace.” It’s understood Infrastructure NSW chairman Nick Greiner reiterated his support for a second airport at a Lebanese Chamber of Commerce function on Friday night. “If I lived in western Sydney, I’d want a western sydney airport in 25 or 30 years,” Mr Greiner said.  “People like Parramatta City Council should be supportive of it,” he added.

EDITORIAL COMMENT 11/11/12  10pm Daily Telegraph

A Sydney Airport expansion is a no-brainer

THE debate and political game-playing surrounding the location of Sydney’s second airport crossed the threshold of high farce a long time ago but today a strange and foreign element has entered into it: a voice of reason.

Treasurer Mike Baird’s support for a dramatic expansion of Sydney Airport is a welcome breakthrough on an issue that has long bedevilled more seasoned and cynical politicians.

Indeed, perhaps it is just that which has allowed Mr Baird to take a fresh approach to such an age-old problem. Despite being the son of a senior MP, Mr Baird’s background is in the private sector, where cost-effectiveness and common sense are the yardsticks of merit, not self-interest and swinging seats.

And where cost and common sense are concerned a Sydney Airport expansion is a no-brainer. At just over $5 billion it is about half the cost of building a new airport, largely because much of the transport and associated infrastructure is already in place.

It also fully capitalises on Sydney’s rare advantage of being a major city with an airport so close to the CBD. This is not just a great convenience but also a competitive edge for a national and international business hub.

Yes, unfortunately it would involve the disruption and relocation of some Kurnell residents but it is inescapable that any new airport will disrupt some people’s lives. It is simply a fact of life that the greater good of the many must sometimes inconvenience the few.

This of course brings us to the inevitable resistance of inner-city residents who complain about aircraft noise.

It ought not to be necessary to explain that part of living in the inner city, part of the convenience of being close to the CBD and transport and the hustle and bustle is that there will be noise: traffic noise, train noise, people noise and, yes, aircraft noise.

Unfortunately many of the most vocal complainants reside in the inner-west electorate of Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and are inclined to switch their votes from Labor to the Greens, which has rendered an otherwise rambunctious and go-getting minister a lame duck on this issue.

Likewise the usually straight-talking Joe Hockey has been reduced to ducking and weaving on airport decisions because of aircraft noise complaints in his North Sydney electorate.

Both men have resisted any curfew relaxation or expansion at Sydney Airport out of pure political self-interest. But perhaps more egregiously they have thumbed their noses at the federal and state governments’ own expert report that recommends Badgerys Creek as the clear and obvious choice for a second airport site, instead making weak arguments for the costlier, more distant, less economically viable and more environmentally questionable site at Wilton.

Premier Barry O’Farrell has ventured even further into the realms of the absurd by nominating an expanded Canberra Airport as the solution, a position that was fatally undermined by his own Planning Minister just recently.

The fact is that both major parties have been hopelessly compromised by their political interests in holding on to seats in western Sydney they fear will be affected by a Badgerys Creek airport and thus cost them office.

As a result the travel needs of a whole metropolis, indeed a whole nation, have been held to ransom by timid and parochial politics.

Indeed, as one senior infrastructure figure told this newspaper, no politician had even had the courage or intellectual integrity to make the case.

And so the crippling inertia surrounding Badgerys Creek leaves a major expansion of Sydney Airport as the only viable option and leaves Mr Baird as one of the very few political leaders to have the courage to say so.

Mr O’Farrell could perhaps learn a thing or two from his Treasurer, as could federal members on both sides.

If squabbling politicians really want to say bye-bye to Badgerys then it’s time they admitted there’s no other realistic choice: We’re bound for Botany Bay.

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