3 February 2012

Australia's top airports - Canberra doesn't exist

| Felix the Cat
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Mr Snow will be most upset to learn that the Daily Telegraph has an article titled Australia’s best – and worst – airports revealed and Canberra airport fails to even get a mention!

This oversight is quite understandable, it’s not like Canberra is anywhere important, it’s just the capital of Australia.

Here is the list of the top Australian airports:

Favourite Australian airports

    1. Melbourne
    2. Sydney
    3. Brisbane
    4. Gold Coast
    5. Adelaide
    6. Perth
    7. Darwin
    8. Hobart

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Kim F said :

dungfungus said :

EvanJames said :

Snow certainly plans to build a hotel out at the airport, and I bet he has a secondary plan to then turn bits of it into units. There’s all that land to the east of the airport too, I’d eat one of my smaller and more palatable hats if he wasn’t eyeing that and thinking about housing.

Sydney airport is utter crap! The fact that you cannot walk to each terminal is a fatal flaw, even the dreadful LAX allows that (if you have time, feet and a good trolley). Sydney airport is in effect two airports. Even funny old Melbourne is better, you can walk to all bits, and there’s a civilised thing, they have showers with hot water in most of the toilets. Sydney has free showers but they’re hidden and most don’t find them.

The domestic and international terminals at the airport at Amsterdam (Schiphol or Shithole as the locals call it) are joined by walkway but it takes 20 – 30 minutes to push your trolley between them. The security staff are the rudest I’ve ever met. This is a real shame because it is KLMs hub port and KLM are a great airline. The transfer between domestic and international in Sydney is dreadful for this day and age. They need the underground rail at the domestic terminal to link with the international. They have something like this in Barajas, Madrid and it only costs 3 euros to go anywhere in Madrid from there by the metro. (3 euros! No wonder Spain is broke)

Amsterdam has a domestic terminal ????? I thought you could walk across Holland in an hour or two !

That’s “domestic” in respect of all the Schengen countries within the EEC. I thought you of all people would have known that EJ.

dungfungus said :

EvanJames said :

Snow certainly plans to build a hotel out at the airport, and I bet he has a secondary plan to then turn bits of it into units. There’s all that land to the east of the airport too, I’d eat one of my smaller and more palatable hats if he wasn’t eyeing that and thinking about housing.

Sydney airport is utter crap! The fact that you cannot walk to each terminal is a fatal flaw, even the dreadful LAX allows that (if you have time, feet and a good trolley). Sydney airport is in effect two airports. Even funny old Melbourne is better, you can walk to all bits, and there’s a civilised thing, they have showers with hot water in most of the toilets. Sydney has free showers but they’re hidden and most don’t find them.

The domestic and international terminals at the airport at Amsterdam (Schiphol or Shithole as the locals call it) are joined by walkway but it takes 20 – 30 minutes to push your trolley between them. The security staff are the rudest I’ve ever met. This is a real shame because it is KLMs hub port and KLM are a great airline. The transfer between domestic and international in Sydney is dreadful for this day and age. They need the underground rail at the domestic terminal to link with the international. They have something like this in Barajas, Madrid and it only costs 3 euros to go anywhere in Madrid from there by the metro. (3 euros! No wonder Spain is broke)

Amsterdam has a domestic terminal ????? I thought you could walk across Holland in an hour or two !

breda said :

It is the best (by far) commercial development in Canberra. The fact that it is on land which actually made it possible for it to happen is hardly surprising.

Yes. It couldn’t happen in a town centre. Because it isn’t a town centre. A town centre is in the middle of a town, where the people live all around, and with shops and services they can visit without driving extra distances. Instead it is all out on its own, requiring more use of transport, upgrading of roads, unnessesary traffic congestion, etc, etc, etc.

Ohhhh, and anthropogenic climate change from CO2 emissions is actually happening.

Skyring said :

It made a lot of business sense to Snow. I don’t think it’s fair to put the burden of local government planning on a businessman. The government(s) stuffed up and let a lot of potential vanish out of the public grasp.

When I said it didn’t make sense, I was talking about from a “didn’t make sense to anyone not making money from it” point of view. Snow et al are perfectly rational.

I am not suggesting that property developers be the ones who have to consider the public good (well, it would be nice if they weren’t totally immoral bastards….). In this case the problem was the nature of the land, the the face that the ACT planners pretty much had no say in what Snow could do. The feds are to blame for that.

p1, there is no way that a development like the BBP could have been built in Woden or Belconnen or Tuggers. The Kommissars (not to mention the NIMBYs) would never have allowed it.

It is the best (by far) commercial development in Canberra. The fact that it is on land which actually made it possible for it to happen is hardly surprising.

Once upon a time, people welcomed successful enterprises. They fell over themselves with thanks when these enterprises were high quality, above and beyond the bare legal minimum.

Nowadays, we have ugly, cheaply built town centres courtesy of the Kommissars and people sniping at the Snows. Go figure.

p1 said :

I think most people’s problem with Snowtown (at least my problem) was the construction of it in a place which made no sense at all, and forced the city and it’s people to invest a lot of time and money to connect it, money which in the long term only benefits a private corporation.

As far as the quality of planning Snow vrs Canberra Town Council Local Gov’t, it is pretty clear that Snow has made his vision happen, it looks good, and he didn’t go broke doing it. The ACT can’t even build a road all the lanes…

It made a lot of business sense to Snow. I don’t think it’s fair to put the burden of local government planning on a businessman. The government(s) stuffed up and let a lot of potential vanish out of the public grasp.

breda said :

The Snows get a lot of stick in Canberra, but the Brindabella Business Park and now the airport demonstrate that they actually care about the quality of their projects. Having worked at BBP and as a frequent user of the airport, I wish people would look at Woden and Tuggers and explain to me how leaving it up to the Planning Kommissars has produced better results.

I think most people’s problem with Snowtown (at least my problem) was the construction of it in a place which made no sense at all, and forced the city and it’s people to invest a lot of time and money to connect it, money which in the long term only benefits a private corporation.

As far as the quality of planning Snow vrs Canberra Town Council Local Gov’t, it is pretty clear that Snow has made his vision happen, it looks good, and he didn’t go broke doing it. The ACT can’t even build a road all the lanes…

Skyring said :

My understanding is that the east side will be Qantasland and the west side Virgin Territory.

That’s my understanding as well, of course at only 40% completed, not even Qantasland is at full size yet…

harvyk1 said :

Back on topic, I suppose there is nothing stopping good ole QF from moving the business lounge to a better position once the other half of the airport is finished. For all we know that is simply a temporary spot for it and it’ll be moved to a more prominent spot in the centre of the airport once finished.

My understanding is that the east side will be Qantasland and the west side Virgin Territory.

Things are definitely improving at the airport, and thank goodness we now have (and will continue to have) an enclosed taxi rank. Having experienced coming home at night in winter, -4 degrees, and standing on a freezing, windswept taxi rank hoping for a cab, yay for that.

One question – why do airports do the zig-zag, rats-in-a-maze thing for disembarking passengers? Is it a security thing, or a way of slowing down the traffic flow?

I fondly remember the days when we would go to the airport’s cramped, grubby little bar on a Sunday because it was the only place that plebs could get a drink. There would be interesting conversations (journos) to overhear as well.

The Snows get a lot of stick in Canberra, but the Brindabella Business Park and now the airport demonstrate that they actually care about the quality of their projects. Having worked at BBP and as a frequent user of the airport, I wish people would look at Woden and Tuggers and explain to me how leaving it up to the Planning Kommissars has produced better results.

Skyring said :

harvyk1 said :

I find it amusing the Qantas Club has the nice view, and the Qantas Business Lounge has the view of the carpark, however I’ve been to many a lounge where the view was not exactly a good one. (Ever been to the Business Lounge at Melbourne International? It feels like a dungeon.

Uh-oh. You’re not talking about the First lounge where I’ll be spending a couple of hours next month? The Sydney one has the best view of any lounge, not to mention service and meals – I was hoping for something similar in Melbourne.

Whilst this is probably getting into the territory for a certain other forum, no I wasn’t referring to the first lounge in Melbourne, I was referring to the business lounge down stairs underneath the main concourse with all the other lounges for the different airlines. (or at least where they used to be, I haven’t been out of T2 in MEL for a while so don’t know if it’s still there). The first lounge in Melbourne is upstairs above the main concourse

PS. Certainly not wrong about the First lounge in Sydney… 🙂

Back on topic, I suppose there is nothing stopping good ole QF from moving the business lounge to a better position once the other half of the airport is finished. For all we know that is simply a temporary spot for it and it’ll be moved to a more prominent spot in the centre of the airport once finished.

harvyk1 said :

I find it amusing the Qantas Club has the nice view, and the Qantas Business Lounge has the view of the carpark, however I’ve been to many a lounge where the view was not exactly a good one. (Ever been to the Business Lounge at Melbourne International? It feels like a dungeon.

Uh-oh. You’re not talking about the First lounge where I’ll be spending a couple of hours next month? The Sydney one has the best view of any lounge, not to mention service and meals – I was hoping for something similar in Melbourne.

Mr Evil you must fly Virgin all the time from Canberra. There is no skybridge to the Qantas Dash 8s so you do walk across the tarmac. Too bad if it’s raining.

One thing that annoys me about the airport is the width of the corridor when you get off Qantaslink. You turn right and all of a sudden you’re confronted with pax waiting to board the plane you’ve just left.

dungfungus said :

The transfer between domestic and international in Sydney is dreadful for this day and age. They need the underground rail at the domestic terminal to link with the international

The underground rail at the domestic terminal does link with the international terminal, the actual train ride takes somewhere between a minute and a half to two minutes (I don’t remember exactly).

Also provided you fly with an airline with some sort of agreement with Qantas or Virgin (or fly internationally with either of these two) they also provide buses which take you from T2 \ T3 to T1…

I agree with Skyring’s comment about the Qantas lounges at CBR, I find it amusing the Qantas Club has the nice view, and the Qantas Business Lounge has the view of the carpark, however I’ve been to many a lounge where the view was not exactly a good one. (Ever been to the Business Lounge at Melbourne International? It feels like a dungeon)

I know that many people like to bag Mr Snow out, and I agree with a lot of the comments made about him, but I think he is onto an absolute winner with the new airport, and I for one can’t wait for it to be finished.

Canberra Airport has certainly improved over the past three years – checking-in seems to be a much smoother process now (although that is partially because of the introduction of more e-check-in hubs) with more room to move and better traffic flow through the new check-in area.

At least going to Canberra Airport doesn’t seem like a time-warp to the 1960s like it was over the past 10 years, when I always expected to be marshalled out across the tarmac to the awaiting DC-3, DC-4, Fokker Friendship or Vickers Viscount!

More signage would be nice too, although as has been mentioned, things will make more sense once stage two is completed.

Just a pity Snow felt it was more important to build the rest of empire up, before working on the terminal though! At least now when you go to the airport, it actually looks like an airport – not some sort of bus terminal built next to a runway.

I really like Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam). The only place I’ve ever got a very nice meal while waiting for my plane.

milkman said :

I’m not a fan of any airport really. The only reason I go there is because I’m traveling. FWIW, I quite like the approach taken by Orlando airport with having terminals connected by shuttle trains.

+1 to Orlando. It’s the only airport where my baggage is consistently on the carousel by the time I get there. And that’s not because the shuttle trains are slow.

Skyring said :

But perhaps a better analogue for Canberra is Washington’s domestic airport at Reagan, about the same distance from the city centre as ours. Airliners follow the Potomac, their wingtips seeming to brush the tip of the Washington Memorial. It is not much bigger than Canberra International, but vastly busier. It is the only airport where I have seen an airliner cross the main runway while another is on final approach.

And it’s great fun flying into Reagan during a storm. Like riding a crazed dodgem car down the Potomac!

milkman said :

I’m not a fan of any airport really. The only reason I go there is because I’m traveling. FWIW, I quite like the approach taken by Orlando airport with having terminals connected by shuttle trains.

The best large airports are those designed as a whole. Orlando has one of the best, with a great deal of planning and thought put into the design. Older airports, such as San Francisco or Dallas/Fort Worth, also work well through the harmony of travel nodes. Hong Kong has a fantastic airport, with a subway running the length of the very long terminal.

Dulles, the international airport for another national capital, was one of the first designed for the jet age, and although the vision is spectacular, it was also deeply flawed, with passengers moved around in enormous people-mover vehicles.

But perhaps a better analogue for Canberra is Washington’s domestic airport at Reagan, about the same distance from the city centre as ours. Airliners follow the Potomac, their wingtips seeming to brush the tip of the Washington Memorial. It is not much bigger than Canberra International, but vastly busier. It is the only airport where I have seen an airliner cross the main runway while another is on final approach.

Canberra is extremely lucky with its airport. It is close to the city centre, the approach and departure corridors are largely vacant, the site is not cramped, and the terminal is modern and well-planned. Once the construction is complete, we should have a facility that is a perfect and impressive arrival point. I have no doubt that hotel and convention facilities will appear in due course.

However, I can’t see how the design could reasonably be extended to cope for a greater density of flights or a significant volume of international movements. As we often hear when Canberra is proposed as “Sydney’s second airport” at the end of a VFT link. Another terminal in the general aviation area, perhaps, or expansion of the old Fairbairn facilities.

IMO Adelaide airport is the best in Australia. Similar size to Canberra’s but logically laid out and as pleasant as it’s possible for any airport to be.

I’m not a fan of any airport really. The only reason I go there is because I’m traveling. FWIW, I quite like the approach taken by Orlando airport with having terminals connected by shuttle trains.

IrishPete said :

Worse still, if you choose to drive to Sydney, the long-stay parking free bus only goes to the domestic terminal, then you pay to catch another bus to international. Not just an infuriatingly slow process, but also adds to the cost. Awful.

But you can park at one of the private parking areas with private shuttle buses that go to either terminal. e.g. Park N Fly. I’m wondering if you parked at the Sydney Airport domestic long term parking. The airport differentiates between T1 and T2/3 parking areas.

In other news, Canberra Airport has made the list of Top 10 Construction Sites, for the last 12 years running.

On international trips, I try to arrange to fly through Melbourne instead of Sydney (but usually fail as there are slightly fewer flights to/from Canberra-Melbourne compared with Canberra-Sydney) because transit time between domestic and international terminals is so much shorter in Melbourne. And Sydney even have the gall to charge you for the transfer bus. Worse still, if you choose to drive to Sydney, the long-stay parking free bus only goes to the domestic terminal, then you pay to catch another bus to international. Not just an infuriatingly slow process, but also adds to the cost. Awful.

IP

PS: that Worst Airport award was in relation to staying at the airport on an overnight stopover though, so no wonder that they scored badly.

I like it simply because it’s small! Ginormous airports lose their appeal rather quickly…

Canberra was voted 2011 Worst Airport, REGION: SOUTH PACIFIC, Runner-Up by sleepinginairpots.net. http://www.sleepinginairports.net/oceania/canberra.htm#.TyuSwtVDR74 Not sure what they base it on. Love that website though. Never travel to an airport for the first time without consulting it.

EvanJames said :

Snow certainly plans to build a hotel out at the airport, and I bet he has a secondary plan to then turn bits of it into units. There’s all that land to the east of the airport too, I’d eat one of my smaller and more palatable hats if he wasn’t eyeing that and thinking about housing.

Sydney airport is utter crap! The fact that you cannot walk to each terminal is a fatal flaw, even the dreadful LAX allows that (if you have time, feet and a good trolley). Sydney airport is in effect two airports. Even funny old Melbourne is better, you can walk to all bits, and there’s a civilised thing, they have showers with hot water in most of the toilets. Sydney has free showers but they’re hidden and most don’t find them.

The domestic and international terminals at the airport at Amsterdam (Schiphol or Shithole as the locals call it) are joined by walkway but it takes 20 – 30 minutes to push your trolley between them. The security staff are the rudest I’ve ever met. This is a real shame because it is KLMs hub port and KLM are a great airline. The transfer between domestic and international in Sydney is dreadful for this day and age. They need the underground rail at the domestic terminal to link with the international. They have something like this in Barajas, Madrid and it only costs 3 euros to go anywhere in Madrid from there by the metro. (3 euros! No wonder Spain is broke)

Lazy I said :

dph said :

Of course this article was written in the Daily Telegraph. What was the headline story today? Something about Lara Bingle or Kim Kardashian?

Spot on. This is actually Lara Bingle’s list of Favourite Australian Airports with a stock photo of Lara in a bikini taking up the other half of the page.

Journalists are go!

They are indeed!

The Telegraph should hire a couple!

So other than a few minor swaps of places it appears to be ranked in order of number of flights, which makes sense as most of the wotif survey takers, probably have not been to all those airports anyway. After all, they got their cheap flight to the gold coast and now looking for cheap hotels. Perfectly OK but explains how the rankings were devised.

A similar survey for frequent flyers would probably have a different list. Personally I have fond memories of the serve yourself bar fridge in the Hobart Qantas club.

qbngeek said :

Skyring said :

Canberra has its parking problems, but otherwise I find it a pleasure to use, at least on the Qantas side. That’s now, anyway. For years and years it was a confusing nightmare of roadworks and potholes.

I drive out there most days and it is still a confusing nightmare of roadworks with not enough signage and the signage needs to be set further away to give more warning to people who don’t go there often.

As a cabbie for five years I told my passengers as we bounced over a section of tarmac that used to be carpark that used to be pedestrian walkway that used to be hangar floor, “Every day’s a new adventure out here!”

The lack of a good passenger pickup area is the main problem now.

@EvanJames, you are being way too kind, describing LAX as merely “dreadful”. Canberra shines in comparison, not least the integrity of the design. Thank goodness that the new terminal replaces the old, rather than merely adding onto it as is usually the case.

It’s got a really nice set of lounges for those who are into lounges. Shame the Business Lounge faces the carpark, but they are both big and well equipped.

I’ve heard people complain about signage, but my understanding is that once the whole thing is complete, with the big glass atrium at the end of the pickup/dropoff ramps linking the Qantas and Virgin sides, it will all become crystal clear where to go.

Jim Snow cops a lot of flak around here, but when i think back to the tacky little shed we used to have, he’s done a marvellous job at giving Canberra not just a decent airport, but one that’s out in front of most.

Who has a favourite airport? Least appalling more like it (just like ACT elections).

There is no airport, anywhere in Australia or indeed the whole world, where anyone sane would choose to go unless they had to.

Sydney is particularly appalling, like an expensive Westfield which does a sideline in airplanes.

LAX is the worst airport anywhere though.

Both Cairns and Canberra have more passengers per year than Hobart or Darwin.

Whilst I don’t know why Cairns was ignored, but we don’t even have Jetstar services here, which puts us right out of the price range for the average daily tele reader.

Mr Snow already owns housing at Fairbairn.

dph said :

Of course this article was written in the Daily Telegraph. What was the headline story today? Something about Lara Bingle or Kim Kardashian?

Spot on. This is actually Lara Bingle’s list of Favourite Australian Airports with a stock photo of Lara in a bikini taking up the other half of the page.

Journalists are go!

I guess I can understand Canberra being left off, as it really can’t be judged while it’s in such a huge transition. Unfortunately it probably was, though! But I don’t understand Melbourne being the top airport; it’s the ugliest airport in the entire country! Maybe it’s just that it’s in Melbourne and the voters thought location mattered?

I haven’t been to all the airports on that list, but I’m surprised Brisbane isn’t at the top. The domestic terminal is much the same as all the others, but the international terminal is top-notch. When there is a choice, I always take international flights to/from Brisbane (not just because of the airport, but because the flights are a little less crowded (woops, did I say that out loud? I was supposed to keep it to myself)). Adelaide has a nice airport too…

It has always frustrated me so much that people outside of the ACT, regard Darwin & Hobart as cities but classify Canberra as a large country town. Morons.

Of course this article was written in the Daily Telegraph. What was the headline story today? Something about Lara Bingle or Kim Kardashian?

It was based on a Wotif survey, which I could find on the site. Admittedly, I wasn’t looking very hard.

Snow certainly plans to build a hotel out at the airport, and I bet he has a secondary plan to then turn bits of it into units. There’s all that land to the east of the airport too, I’d eat one of my smaller and more palatable hats if he wasn’t eyeing that and thinking about housing.

Sydney airport is utter crap! The fact that you cannot walk to each terminal is a fatal flaw, even the dreadful LAX allows that (if you have time, feet and a good trolley). Sydney airport is in effect two airports. Even funny old Melbourne is better, you can walk to all bits, and there’s a civilised thing, they have showers with hot water in most of the toilets. Sydney has free showers but they’re hidden and most don’t find them.

Is Mr Snow going to build flats out there one day ? Be nice sittin out on the balcony with a good red watchin’ the planes take off. Have enough red and the noise won’t worry you.

Not going to read a Daily Telegraph article on airport lists. But Google ‘Sydney Airport worst’ or even ‘Australia airport worst’ for some opinions on Sydney Airport. Now it’s the 2nd favourite Australian airport…

I can’t find much to complain about the facilities at Canberra Airport. As airports go, it seems… functional.

Skyring said :

As an airport, Sydney sucks. International transfers are a pain, the layout is inefficient, the parking is expensive.

Canberra has its parking problems, but otherwise I find it a pleasure to use, at least on the Qantas side. That’s now, anyway. For years and years it was a confusing nightmare of roadworks and potholes.

I drive out there most days and it is still a confusing nightmare of roadworks with not enough signage and the signage needs to be set further away to give more warning to people who don’t go there often.

As an airport, Sydney sucks. International transfers are a pain, the layout is inefficient, the parking is expensive.

Canberra has its parking problems, but otherwise I find it a pleasure to use, at least on the Qantas side. That’s now, anyway. For years and years it was a confusing nightmare of roadworks and potholes.

Those wondering where they got the data could always click the link and find out…

Canberra’s not there because it’s in a category of it’s own, way below “worst”.

Thoroughly Smashed11:12 am 03 Feb 12

How odd

I don’t believe those figures, by what measure? Canberra and Cairns should have more passenger traffic than Hobart or Darwin.

Will they do a list of best/worst long distance bus stations? I’m sure the Jolimont Centre would get a guernsey.

Canberra has a shopping and office space precinct with a runway.

Who knows what they based that list on!

Cairns didn’t get a mention either and its a real international airport.

Ben_Dover said :

We have an airport?

And it’s an “International” one.

We have an airport?

Maybe the list is a Work in Progress, like our airport

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