A Draft Master Plan 2033 graphic with telling emphasis on retail rather than air space

It seems that the authors of Sydney Airport’s new yet rehashed draft master plan to 2033 have written off the western hemisphere of the Sydney basin as half a city unworthy of real economic growth or convenient access to air travel.

All to save the current airport’s shareholders from being exposed to competition in airports?

The draft plan which can be downloaded in full or part here revisits proposals to make all three terminals at the airport combined domestic-international services capable, a blindingly obvious reform since the late 90s when branded global alliances began to make sense of grouping their memberships and their domestic connections as closely together as possible.

It also introduces a new road plan to improve access to the T2 and T3 areas where congestion currently causes significant inconvenience to domestic flyers.

It predicts that its previous projections for future flight movements to 2033 will be less, because of a shift to the use of larger sized aircraft, that is more passengers, yet less flights.

All of the above comprise unsurprising common sense restatements or reactions to previously discussed remedies for known causes of passenger dissatisfaction and airline costs and frustrations with the existing airport.

Yet the draft plan doesn’t meaningfully address the needs of western Sydney for an airport, which in itself is not only experiencing growth that is harming the current airport’s performance, but hindering quite severely non-airport commuter travel by road routes and the rail lines that pass close to or through the two airport stations respectively, nor the need for first world competition in the provision of airport services.

The strategic weakness in the execution of the plan is that it substantially relies on improvements to be made outside the airport, and in some cases,  from public and private purses other than those of the airport owners.

It also seeks to do things that need to be done to Sydney Airport even without a Sydney West airport,  a point made by Christopher Brown, a prominent voice in transport infrastructure lobbying and a  co-author of the recent state/federal study into sites for a new Sydney Airport, in this comprehensive report in The Telegraph.

Last night one of the co-authors of a report into Sydney’s aviation capacity, Christopher Brown, said slower growth in air traffic would not change the need for a new airport in west Sydney.

“Sydney needs a better operating Kingsford-Smith and it needs a second airport at Badgerys Creek,” Mr Brown said.

“We need a world’s best practice airport at Mascot and the world’s newest airport at Badgerys.”

The simplest, most economically beneficial way for Sydney to tackle its airport issues is to both upgrade Sydney Airport, at its owner’s expense, and to allow the staged development of the Badgerys Creek site for a western Sydney basin airport  to bring more economic activity to that half of the city.

And, if possible, repeal those sections of legislation which enshrine monopoly gouging of airlines and their customers by Sydney Airport over the entire metropolitan sprawl by granting it an extension of the monopoly by virtue of a first right of refusal to build and operate a second Sydney Airport.

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