For decades we have heard discussions about a second airport for Sydney. It has been a political talking point for as long as I can remember and still to this day the politicians have absolutely no idea what they are going to do about it, when it might happen and what it is going to cost.
In contrary to NSW’s lack of activity on the airport agenda, China is planning on building a new airport every 40 days for the next five years! That’s 45 new airports! An unbelievable effort if achieved and all based on China’s booming economy and the requirements of travel within the country.
Australia’s number one airport is Sydney and is ranked 23rd busiest in the world based on passenger numbers. Although it is ranked so high, the size of the airport and the number of runways simply can’t cope with the continual growth of flights coming in and out of the country as well as the domestic flights internally. Sydney is in dire need of a second airport and at the moment nothing is being done about it.
Now that there is a “taskforce” involved (something the Government sets up to make it look important and more importantly appear as if something is being done about it…even though it seems that nothing really is) they need to start the motions once again as to the most desirable location and of course this brings out all the those who oppose it because they don’t want the new airport in ‘their’ backyard (which I can understand).
So, what are the options available?
- Badgery’s Creek – 64km by road with travel time estimated at around 1hr to the Sydney CBD
- Holdsworthy Army Base – 50km by road with travel time estimated at around 1hr to the Sydney CBD
- Richmond air force base – 64km by road with travel time estimated at around 1hr to the Sydney CBD
These are the options for consideration but there are others which really need to be brought to light and cater far better for the future rather than just the bandaid solution for today.
One of the best out-the-box solutions that I heard some time ago was to utilise Canberra’s “International Airport” (which, by the way, doesn’t accept any international flights) and connect it to Sydney with a fast train. This not only helps redirect some of the flights to Canberra but also will stop some flights altogether as the Passengers on the Sydney to Canberra flights may find it easier to utilise the fast train between the destinations. The other advantage of this is the possibility of building a fast train from Melbourne to Canberra allowing people to choose between flights and train.
Staying on the same track of fast trains (excuse the pun) the other option is to expand the airport in Newcastle and provide a fast train from Newcastle not only to Sydney but also up the coast to Brisbane.
I can understand that a fast rail network would be expensive but Australia has to move with the times and by simply not building a new airport in Sydney (estimated to cost between $15 – $25 billion) that money could be better spent on a rail network which will help serve the greater population of Australia along with its international visitors.
So a second airport or a rail link… you tell us?