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.