Tralee fight and the second Sydney airport

By 2 October, 2007 17

Last week Ben Sandilands had a mildy interesting article in Crikey (subscription required) linking the long-running puch-up over the Tralee development to the even older and more bitter intrigues surrounding Sydney’s proposed second airport. Ben picks up on a theme that’s been mentioned by contributors here before – that of Terry Snow’s ultimate ambition being for Canberra Airport to take on the second airport role:

The extent of Snow’s ambitions have come to light in the complex and incomplete litigation between him and Sartor over noise projections and planning powers. Canberra Airport has projected that within about 10 years it will handle, between 7am and 7pm, a total of 76 takeoffs or landings by wide body jets with 250 seats or more, at least half of them in jets as big or long as any currently in service.

Including day time flights, it will average 32 movements an hour, and without a curfew, have the potential to grow to more than half Sydney’s frequency of services which is capped at 80 flights an hour between 6am and 11pm.

Clearly, the passengers to fill them aren’t going to come exclusively from Canberra’s one third of a million residents but Sydney’s 4 million.

Already there is only an extra 30 minutes drive time from south-western Sydney to Canberra Airport compared to the usual grid lock and the poisonous fumes of the M5 East tunnel that gets between much of the metropolitan sprawl and Kingsford Smith Airport.

However Sandilands never explains why Frank Sartor (NSW Planning Minister) is so opposed to this eventuality? Surely this would be a politically convenient outcome for all concerned, neatly avoiding anyone actually having to build Badgery’s Creek (which appears to be considered a bit too “courageous” in the Sir Humphrey sense).

It also seems likely to me that the bulk of the load-shifting to Canberra International would be freight rather than passengers, but that’s a side issue.

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17 Responses to Tralee fight and the second Sydney airport
#1
ant9:24 pm, 02 Oct 07

Be vigilant. There’s a new proposal for a fast train link between the airport and Sydney. Guess what that’ll mean? Jumbos from Singapore at 2am.

But they don’t really need the train. Land the jumbos, process the passengers (customs, immigration) and then load them into planes taking them to their final destinations. Capital cities, sunny places, regions. All taking off from Canberra airport, which lacks a curfew.

Once it’s happening, it won’t be stoppable. Take an interest *now*.

#2
Pandy10:57 pm, 02 Oct 07

I think 24 hour plane operations are good. It will stop Tralee dead.

As for a VFT, I think it is a great idea. But ant I would tell ‘em: “Bud, you are dreaming if you think VFT will happen. Light rail will happen 1st”.

#3
ant11:55 pm, 02 Oct 07

They’re not dreaming. If they finance a lot of it, and get some strategic partners to chip in, it will happen soon. Once that rail link is in, enjoy the aeroplanes. they won’t just come in on one line. Why do you think they’re fighting Tralee so aggressively?

#4
Pandy12:10 am, 03 Oct 07

So Tom Snow may finance the VFT? Interesting.

The VFT was investigate years ago. The Government rejected the calls for tax breaks to build it and the proposal collapsed in a heap. It is a multi billion project and more so if they extend it to Melbourne as they must.

But maybe it will happen since there is a growing carbon backlash to aeroplane travel.

What is your source ant? I am interested in following-up the story.

#5
ant12:27 am, 03 Oct 07

It’ll become public soon enough. the airport has resources where their interests are concerned.

#6
shauno1:34 am, 03 Oct 07

“Be vigilant. There’s a new proposal for a fast train link between the airport and Sydney. Guess what that’ll mean? Jumbos from Singapore at 2am.”

Thats just fantastic news. I wish Mr Snow all the best and hope to be one of the first passengers to come in from Singapore.

#7
sepi10:12 am, 03 Oct 07

I’m with ant.

This is one of those things that people will bitterly regret once it starts happening. People in Sydney are pretty unimpressed with aircraft noise, and that’s got a curfew.

Much like the parking in Civic that is now big buildings – once this is done it won’t be undone.

#8
Mr Evil10:41 am, 03 Oct 07

I think that even with a VFT type link between Canberra/Sydney the belief that Canberra can become a second airport for Sydney is fairly far fetched. And even if it did happen, there’d be very little benefit for Canberra (apart from Snow City!) as most of the passengers would be stepping off the plane at Canberra directly onto the next train to Sydney.

Plus, how much do you think the train fare would be????

Somewhere around Goulburn would be a much more likely option for Sydney’s second airport.

#9
Ralph10:46 am, 03 Oct 07

Does anybody know how far second and third airports are for other major cities around the world?

A second Sydney airport some 200km or more from Sydney is just ridiculous.

#10
caf11:04 am, 03 Oct 07

mr evil: presumably they’d need to locally employ a large number of people to service, clean, fuel and turnaround the aircraft, not to mention process the passengers.

#11
Mr Evil11:11 am, 03 Oct 07

Caf, not at all – they’ll use robots to do all that! :)

(Okay, I hadn’t thought about that little thing of extra employment for Canberrans!)

#12
bonfire11:35 am, 03 Oct 07

fast train from sydney to goulburn area airport – same model as heathrow – london.

better than current sydney airport problems.

getting off a jumbo at 7am the same time as 5 others touchdown (within minutes of each other) makes it a drag to catch connecting flights as you crawl through customs.

there has to be a better way.

#13
Maelinar11:37 am, 03 Oct 07

Offshore. Next problem.

#14
Thumper11:47 am, 03 Oct 07

Heathrow to London is not fast.

It’s just a standard overlander.

Better than a taxi though…

#15
Thumper11:48 am, 03 Oct 07

Sorry, mean to say it’s an tube train that goes overland, rather than underground.

If that makes sense :)

#16
JC8:26 pm, 04 Oct 07

No thumper it doesn’t really make much sense. Heathrow actually has 3 train services. It has the tube which takes about 45-60 minutes for about 5 quid cash, it runs about every 5-10 mins. It has the Heathrow Express, which yes it is an normal overland type train but it is fast. It is 15 minutes from Paddington to terminal 1,2,3 and about an extra 5-10 to T4. (NB Qantas and BA are moving to T3 next year). This runs every 15 minutes. This costs about 15 quid one way. They also have Heathrow connect which stops all stations from T1,2,3 to Paddington. It takes 25 minutes and I think runs every 30 minutes.

But that being said Heathrow is not a good example because it is close. It is about the same distance as Tulla is from Melb city.

London also has Gatwick which is about 30km from town. It has an express train every 15 minutes that takes 30 minutes (35 on Sundays for some odd reason) for about 13 quid one way. It is also served by lots of trains to the SE for a fraction of the cost. They also have Lutton and Standstead (SP? on both) which are 50km+ from town and have rail services but not express and I think Lutton you still need to get a shuttle bus.

As for CBR for it to be a 2nd airport, the train link would need to be fast, my guess is 1 hour max. It would also have to be regular, ie every 15 minutes no matter what. Bottom line is we could never as a 2nd airport get the traffic to warrant a service that regular. The big problem with a fast train would be access to Sydney would be hard. To make a really fast journey you have to run the fast tracks as close as possible to the terminal. How the hell could you do that in Sydney, the closest would be the current East Hills line, which would then take 20-30 mins express to get to Central. It just wont work as a 2nd airport. Even Goulburn is too far. The best site I ever heard was Winton near Picton. This is the area near where you see the sky diving taking place. It was close to Sydney, close to Wollongong and close to Canberra. It would be ideal to run a fast train through, was flat. I belive the big problem with it was fog.

#17
diprotodon6:42 am, 05 Oct 07

If Canberra is developed as a hub for SouthEast Australia, much in the same way as Frankfurt is for Germany and Luxembourg, then this notion is reasonable. Hop on the high speed fixed rail train (VFT / Maglev / High-speed monorail) from Sydney, Albury, even Melbourne to Canberra and off you go.

Limitations to this actually working though are the fact that people will object to the price of catching the train on top of the airfare. Unless Qantas, Virgin Blue, Singapore airlines, etc actually support the concept, and are prepared to offer check-in at the train station, and offer to provide an equivalent level of service on the train or better, it will never happen.

Canberra Airport also has to become a destination that people want to visit. It has amazed me that Snowtown has Brand Depot separate to the terminal – passengers waiting for their flight or in transit are hardly going to want to catch the Snowtown Shuttle to Brand Depot while they wait considering it goes every half hour through awful traffic. Frankfurt Airport is an integrated shopping centre in the terminal, with pubs etc. at city prices. Its part of the community rather than a separate blot on the landscape.

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