Regional passengers will suffer if Sydney doesn’t get a second airport, Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said yesterday.
‘For people who work in regional New South Wales, it’s particularly important that they’re able to fly in, in the morning, do a day’s work in Sydney, or for that matter, meet friends, engage in recreational activity and then fly home in the afternoon,’ Mr Albanese said in a doorstop interview at Parliament House, Canberra.
‘We know that regional New South Wales relies upon access to the existing Kingsford Smith Airport. We know that because Kingsford Smith Airport is reaching capacity, there are restrictions in terms of the slots that are available to aircraft from regional airlines. Indeed, were it not for my determination to guarantee those slots, right now there would be no availability for regional airlines into Kingsford Smith Airport during the peak periods.’
In an opinion piece on the weekend Mr Albanese wrote, ‘nearly 330,000 people flew between Ballina, Lismore and Grafton airports and Sydney last year.
‘Access to Sydney is critical in supporting economic growth in regional communities on the North Coast.’
He added that such flights in smaller aircraft were under pressure due to the limited landing space at Kingsford Smith.
‘A regional flight, on average, carries 30 passengers, compared with 140 passengers for every domestic city flight. It is an easy calculation for those looking to maximise profits to simply get rid of smaller regional aircraft and concentrate on larger aircraft,’ he said.