R.W. Chinnery

About R.W. Chinnery

R.W. Chinnery is a hack-of-all-trades with experience in: corporate communications, media liaison, news aggregation, blogging and maps for places he has never been. His academic background is in politics and international relations. He found great inspiration to pursue the humanities after having barely survived a year studying the natural sciences.

Smoke Signal: ‘Badgered’ into second Sydney airport

A recent Fairfax Nielsen poll of support for a second international airport in Sydney at the perennially touted Badgery’s Creek site looks as though someone took the opinion polls of 16 years ago and flipped them over.

Such has left perennial Badgery’s nay-sayer,  NSW premier Barry O’Farrell, at risk of being wrong-footed.

You can’t really blame Bazza though. In NSW, talk of a second Sydney airport is the stuff of urban-planning folklore, with its extended mythos of intergovernmental group sagas and an epic cycle of feasibility literature composed of layer upon layer saying more or less what the last study and all the others before it said dating back to 1962. Now his colleagues in Canberra want to make it happen in the next couple of weeks.

This sudden urge to slay the monstrous archetype of the western Sydney voter on the tip of a wide-bodied jet comes as the existing Charles Kingsford-Smith international airport has been given the all-clear to use its facilities more efficiently, or failing that, confuse everybody. The Federal Government has just approved Sydney Airport’s plan to mix international and domestic flights across all terminals, which it is hoped will enable CK-S to service Sydney alone till 2033. It also seems to raise an interesting possibility vis Qantas which has a lease on Terminal 3 (that will need to be part of any plans for combined domestic and international operations) with around six years left to run. Should amendments to the Qantas Sale Act go through, the refund for an early return of the terminal might be what Qantas needs to pretty itself up a bit for potential investors.

A second airport will be a major freight hub as well as a second gateway for passenger traffic of course. This, however, doesn’t seem to faze Canberra Airport General Manager Stephen Byron, who has big plans of his own to take advantage of Canberra’s curfew-free status. An airport at Badgery’s Creek would be better positioned than Charles Kingford-Smith (and certainly better than Canberra) to service Sydney’s industrial west, but as Mr Byron points out, it is decades away, and any industry there to be serviced is as dependant on decisions taken today as the airport itself.

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