Apr 16, 2014

Badgerys Creek roads to cost more than stage 1 of 2nd Sydney Airport

Somewhat overshadowed by the resignation of NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell this morning Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Somewhat overshadowed by the resignation of NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell this morning Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced $2.9 billion in new road works over eight years to improve access to the $2.5 billion estimated cost of the first stage of a second Sydney Airport at the Commonwealth owned Badgerys Creek site. The deputy PM, and Minister for Transport, Warren Truss, also took the stress burden off the PM when it comes to mentioning rail by giving his support to defining a rail corridor that would go through the new airport to Penrith. Presumably from Leppington, which is the current terminus of the soon to open SW Rail Link, which is close to the Badgerys Creek site across open flat ground, and which in its entirety was always intended to be a second Sydney Airport rail link, which is a westerly extension of the current East Hills/Airport line which already connects with the main north-south rail line at the newly rebuilt Glenfield station and through it the main western line. There may be a public discussion at some stage as to whether Penrith is the best destination of a northerly extension of the line through Badgerys Creek, however Penrith, and other possible links points such as Blacktown or Parramatta are already subject to substantial office block, retail and other commercial property growth. While the outgoing Premier also broke through years of waffle by starting work on a NW Rail Project for Sydney, which could readily be linked at two points to the metropolitan network where it conveniently offers connections to the current and second airport, he unfortunately had another brain fade by insisting on tunnels that will only take single deck trains. This means that none of the double decker rolling stock that works well for longer distance metropolitan rail services in Sydney will be able to run out to the growing and more distant suburbs of north western Sydney. O'Farrell deserves a better legacy than a botched NW Rail link, or an especially costly bottle of forgotten Grange from a Liberal party supporter under investigation over the Sydney Water affair.  Like Abbott, he acted decisively to do something about Sydney infrastructure paralysis, whether or not those actions prove optimal in their fine detail. Tony Abbott's comments at today's somewhat distracted media conference, at which O'Farrell was the missing party, made it clear that new road works would be well underway before the end of this year, and airport construction would begin by the end of 2016, with or without the participation of the existing Sydney Airport owners, who have first right of refusal to own its future competitor. By world standards, something as simple as a single runway airport ought to be completed well before the eight years of additional roadworks announced by the PM.

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38 thoughts on “Badgerys Creek roads to cost more than stage 1 of 2nd Sydney Airport

  1. discus

    More attention and focus needs ot be brought onto the rail options.
    Fast reasonably priced trains to Kingsford-Smith, the city and a line to Parramatta or Blacktown or perhaps Penrith. I chose Parramatta as it is a major centre and rail junction. Blacktown as it is a large centre and also on a junction of several lines.

    I hope the roads to service BC are a little better then the crap they served up with the M5.

  2. R. Ockape

    The word is a single 2500 metre runway. Really? C’mon! That’s a domestic airport at best. Trying to get a reasonable load off the ground on a 40+ degree Western Sydney day will be a virtual impossibility. 3000m has to be a minimum, ideally 3500. Imagine the disruptions when they realise the runway is not long enough and it has to be closed to be extended. Another second-class piece of Aussie infrastructure…if the figures are true.

  3. michael r james

    Several people were talking about rail today. Including Albanese who said that it makes sense to build it right at the beginning–as opposed to Truss who said there was no need. Abbott wouldn’t build it ever. One has to blame the weird Anglophone economic-rationalists, like Crikey’s other blogger who puts forward the notion that passenger rail to airports is not justified until there are at least 60m pax annually. Seriously, it wasn’t parody (he, and these guys, don’t do parody).

    Albo has been putting on a brave front. He has been supporting the Badgerys Creek choice. But one’s sympathy for him and his party is limited by the fact that they stupidly did not embrace it before the election. (He should also slap down Ed Husic quick smart.) Now, no matter if it takes another decade or two, or is the usual Australian debacle, Sydney West airport will be credited to Tony Abbott!

  4. comet

    Is Australia the only country in the world where the country’s leader (Abbott) throws billions of dollars on roads, but refuses to spend a cent on rail?

    Is Australia the only country in the world where they build a new airport within the city’s boundary, but with no rail link?

    What the new airport really needs, apart from a track to the airport, is a fleet of single-deck carriages that carry airport-only trains on the regular suburban lines. The rolling stock on the NW Rail line won’t be able to do that, as they are powered from underneath, rather than overhead cables.

  5. Boston the Dog

    Badgery’s Creek International Airport. Sounds classy. What ARE we going to call it?

  6. Geoff

    Clearly are foremost aviator at the moment is the head of Airservices and the Joint Rescue mission for the Malaysian 777, Angus Houston.

    Houston International Airport sounds really good!

  7. ghostwhowalksnz

    So $2.5 billion is the ‘ cash required to splash’

    And exactly how is a private consortium going to get a return from this with , lets be kind, about 20 -25 flights a day for the first 5 years. The only likely destinations are Melbourne, Brisbane, and maybe a few to Perth.
    The only way that makes sense, is for the existing Sydney airport operator to fund this and ‘cross subsidise’ for the first 15 years.

    You wait and see, this will be how it pans out.
    You can see a likely traffic flow from the Avalon airport, and that was with existing infrastructure and runways. All they had to pay for was a terminal and a tower

  8. Glen

    Ghost, fear you’re right. Unfortunately the federal constitution means John Howard’s extraordinary gift of preemptive rights cannot be rescinded without massive compensation. There is no obvious work-around. I’d just quietly regulate and tax the buggers into submission.

  9. patrick kilby

    ghost, the catchment for Sydney West (for those who wondered what it will be called) is far greater than Canberra (or Adelaide) so no shortage of destinations. Sydney East is a long schlep from the West so plenty of custom for sure to almost anywhere. I can see EK moving their late flight there not to mention Etihad and others.

  10. cud chewer

    Rather than a complex and lengthy discussion I’ll skip to the point and I’ll give my own vision of how things should happen.

    Firstly, BC planners should consider a completely new, proactive and generous system of compensation. One which takes into account forward planning and expansion, future noise footprints and allows owners of property to sell at a non-noise-affected value immediately. Ultimately the land thus purchased will be an asset and will probably grow in value as land use changes.

    Secondly, we need to reconsider a fast rail line from the Sydney CBD to Penrith along the lines of Western Fastrail. Then we need to consider either providing a fast airport shuttle from St. Marys to BC airport, or seriously consider engineering the SWRL extension to St. Marys to operate at much higher speeds.

    Thirdly, as and when high speed rail is implemented, I would envision it connecting with the above fast rail at Homebush or even at Rosehill and then at Glenfield.

    This would complete the picture allowing faster transport between the Sydney CBD, the Liverpool area, the Parramatta area, and of course BC airport.

    Fourth. Build the airport at Wilton, connect it with high speed rail, and reclaim/redevelop Kingsford Smith.

  11. comet

    There should be another ICAC inquiry to look at why roads surrounding a sparsely populated area of flat land will cost $3 billion.

  12. fabio1

    Unfortunately the grubby unions and the mates will be rubbing their hands with glee over this as another way of feathering their nest with outrageous workplace awards as they have at Barangeroo – a cleaner earns over $100 and people get their travel allowence even when they have an RDO

  13. TDeeSyd

    I went to pose that question earlier today but got a little shy, so as not to lower the tone of the forum so early in the day

    Badgerys Creek…sh1t. Makes you wanna go anywhere else. Rooty Hill is just a one wood and an eight iron to the north? Maybe they could do a deal, under license of course

  14. Confirmed Sceptic

    As an international pilot flying frequently to Asia, I submit that the new airport should be modelled on any of the Asian airports. Hong Kong, Shanghai, they are all similar with two or more parallel runways, a massive central terminal complex and dedicated, high-speed rail to the downtown station. Come to think of it, pretty much like Frankfurt was thirty years ago. We could probably get the plans cheap 😉

    Instead, what we will get is Montreal Mirabelle lite…a single, short runway serving a still-born terminal concept with a few aero bridges.

    The project needs to be a wholesale replacement of SYD…four runways, no curfew, CATlll approaches on at least two runways, freeway access and high speed rail.

    Max Moore-Wilton and the boys can go pound salt. The needs of the country should far outweigh the needs of a few larcenous investors.

    Fixing Sydney’s airport woes needs bold measures: you cannot do this job one tentative step at a time. I will certainly be retired before the first runway is commissioned, and likely be comprehensively dead before the new airport is a goer, but I would like my teenagers to be able to experience what a modern airport is like without having to travel to a different continent. They will by then be in their thirties, and no doubt holding hopes for their own children.

    My flying colleague today summed it up thus:” Australia-delivering yesterdays solutions tomorrow”

  15. Ben Sandilands

    A few things picked up in background talks yesterday.

    1. Key airlines are insisting, or will insist on the 3500 metre runway approved in the original EIS.

    2. They will insist on the 24 hour curfew, which is already provided for in the original plan etc.

    3. They are aware that this airport has high business travel potential because of the continued expansion of business precincts in western and northwestern Sydney. The city is no longer clustered around Port Jackson. It’s the 21st century.

    4. Back of clock mass tourism will be a fact of life, as it is already increasingly so to our north.

    5. Utilisation will be a key factor in certain airline considerations. At least two are keen to put large jets on a 10 pm arrival midnight departure plan, saving potentially four or more hours of additional idle time if they were parked at Sydney and unable to take off until 6 am.

    I should also note that as an airport primarily for western Sydney a fast train to the no longer as dominant as it was before CBD is much less relevant or attractive to private capital than access to the metropolitan networks stations at Penrith, Blacktown, Parramatta, Granville, Epping, Rouse Hill, Liverpool, Glenfield, Campbelltown and Macarthur.

    Sydney has changed. It will change even more, and more rapidly, with an effective airport, with room for expansion, at Badgerys Creek.

  16. Dan Dair

    I have no idea whether or not the Wagners are nice people & I have no financial or similar interest in the following comments…..

    The new airport at Toowoomba, currently being built by the Wagner family with their own investment money, will go from a green(ish)-field site to a fully operational airport in about two & a half years.
    This includes all the necessary services & the supporting road connections.
    (Granted, a huge amount of planning was done in advance of this period & also acknowledging that certain existing or planned civic & regional infrastructure projects will benefit the airport)

    However, BC has had over FORTY YEARS for plans to be written, re-written & then written again & STILL they’re telling us it won’t be operational for ten years.?????????

    Get someone in to run this job that actually has an interest in seeing it succeed.!!!
    There’s nothing wrong with a ‘phased development’ of the BC site.
    It makes sense to build a single (3.5km) runway now, with a single terminal.

    One would, however, hope to God that they’ve got enough sense (& this is where the theory starts to fall down badly) to build that one runway & terminal in a position which will allow them to make the future developments which Confirmed Sceptic as so sensibly outlined as vital to the future of this airport.?

  17. Dan Dair

    To leave enough space undeveloped on the outer edge of the outer runways
    For a bit of ‘future-proofing’.?

    By the time the A380 replacement comes on-stream in 20 years or so & maybe Antonov have developed a passenger carrying AN-225 equivalent;
    The option for BC to create super-jumbo apron & terminal with no obstacles or impediments along the sides of the taxiways would be most useful.?

  18. Glen

    Sceptic, before the first aircraft lands at The Badgery, Brisbane will feature long parallel runways (one without curfew), three modern terminals, direct rail to the CBD and Gold Coast (=Tweed Heads by then, nearly half built for 200k), and excellent freeway connections north, south and to the CBD. You won’t need to go to Asia.

  19. Boston the Dog

    TDeeSyd, Not a bad idea, Badgerys Rooty Hill International Airport, or Rooty Hill Badgerys International Golf Course. Take your pick.

    One thing is for sure. The terminal/club house will be about 15% too small for the initial punters and “shrink” from there as growth cuts in. just try to pass through YSSY customs hall in the morning an you will know what I mean. The book used to determine levels of “service” is called “Lessons from LAX”

    Just look to BNE and try to figure out why they built the Domestic Terminal 2000m from the International Terminal.

  20. Glen

    Boston, re BNE, a glance at the new master-plan would have answered your implied bad-mouth. It’s to provide for enough long-term gate space expansion in the narrow corridor between the parallel runways. BNE have just completed a northern expansion of international gates. Domestic gates are near fully committed, and cannot be expanded north until other facilities there are moved out. I expect the next major development to be a new domestic satellite to the south, in that “2000m” gap.

    (Disclaimer: Don’t work for them, but know people who have consulted to them for years. Believe it or not BAC are actually moderately cluey.)

  21. michael r james

    Sceptic at 10.52 pm
    “The project needs to be a wholesale replacement of SYD…four runways, no curfew, CATlll approaches on at least two runways, freeway access and high speed rail.”

    I’ve been saying the same thing for years (I believe my first post on this was 2009).

    Sydney doesn’t need a second airport, it needs a new (mega) airport. Like HKI (Chep Lap Kok), or Kansai, or Berlin-Brandenburg. Incidentally in moving from Kai Tak to Chep Lap Kok, Hong Kong flattened a mountain, created an island, built one of the biggest bridges (Tsing Ma road & rail) in the world, super-highways and rail lines, biggest air-terminal in the world (at time of opening), biggest freight airport in the world and a new town (Tung Chung) well on the way to its target of 250,000 residents. But get this: they did it in 6 years.

    The key to unlocking this idea is when the feds realize what a goldmine they are sitting on in the KSA crown land. Approx. 12 km2 about 50% of which has “bay views”. By my calculations one could build an entire new suburb of >250,000 with already-built fast train to the CBD. And space for another mini-downtown. Get the developers on side, and you’re halfway there. (In crude developer-speak there is probably >$200bn of business there!)

    Simultaneously solve the airport problem and urban devo (genY wants to live close to the action not in exurban sprawl). Seriously help the development of Western Sydney.

    Even Ben accepts that the airlines want the 24 hour operation (and IMO don’t really want to operate from two airports in the same city; in any case this would create irresistible commercial pressures to move operations from KSA to SW).

    Of course the biggest impediment remains government whose time horizons rest firmly on 2 to 3 years, which is why large nation-building projects rarely get up. And when they do, the next government is as likely to try to tear them down (NBN, Sydney Opera House).

  22. Glen

    Correction: Gold Coast Rail design speed is 160 km/hr (should remember, worked on it). Current maximum operating speed is 140 km/hr; needs better rolling stock and exclusion to run faster.

  23. michael r james

    I’m re-posting this (below) here as it is perhaps more relevant.

    A thought about rail: Did you read Bernard Keane’s piece yesterday (or day before?) on the issue of providing fuel to any Sydney West airport? (I only read the lede as the rest was Paywalled). The obvious answer is to rail it in. (A pipeline is just too much “infrastructure” for any Australian government, they would move it in 40 gallon barrels moved by donkey convey for a half century before they did that; and the econo-rationalists like Crkey’s other blogger would advise them indeed that makes more sense.)

    Will they really allow such humungous quantities of flammable liquids to be moved thru 50 km of Sydney by 40-tonne truck? (that was rhetorical: of course they will.)

  24. prodigy

    Roads only create traffic and parking problems. A railway station adjacent to (beneath?) the terminals will avoid this chaos. Look at Heathrow (well, they do have a bit of both).
    They tried to do it at Mascot but cocked it up and made road options cheaper.

  25. Ben Sandilands

    I’m not in favour of a mega airport at all. To be convenient airports need to be accessible.

    The notion that having removed the aggravation being caused by people in the western half of Sydney grinding their way from a multitude of originating points to the sole eastern airport, we would then close down that airport and visit the same problem on a single western airport isn’t sustainable.

    The first thing that such a policy would do is persuade lots of business travel generating enterprises to leave Sydney for saner, more convenient locations.

    I don’t think travel generating enterprises actually care about how many airports there are. But they do seek environments where the access to the airport is functionally efficient. People put up with Narita because Tokyo is so important that they have to. However Sydney is not so important that it can’t be replaced by Melbourne or Brisbane as a business base.

    Similarly, if the desire is to drive economic activity out of Sydney, confiscating enterprises like Sydney Airport on the basis of forcing the city to conform to some grand plan for a mega super airport is the perfect starting point.

    Separate airports for the two hemispheres of the Sydney basin makes sense, in my view. They will tend to subdue pricing excesses by each other, if individually owned, and they will give Sydney an aggregate capacity to deal with the growth of the Asian Century that cannot be provided by either airport on their own under any realistic scenario.

    I also think that a central coast single runway airport south of Newcastle will in due course serve both Newcastle and the central coast, and just possibly, the upper north shore with a useful airport for some routes. As might Holsworthy, one day, when today’s 4.7 million population in the greater Sydney region becomes as much as 7-8 million by 2060.

  26. ag0044

    [Will they really allow such humungous quantities of flammable liquids to be moved thru 50 km of Sydney by 40-tonne truck? (that was rhetorical: of course they will.)]

    Completely off-topic, but how does the fuel get to Sydney and Melbourne airports? Tankers at Sydney and a pipeline at Melbourne? Does anyone actually know?

    And, how much fuel do these airports go through in a typical day?

  27. Ben Sandilands

    Additional point about fuel. The need for a pipeline is not to Kurnell, but Prospect, which is served by a fuel pipeline, and is relatively close to Badgerys Creek.

    Fuel is going the way of electricity, that is, it is increasingly being generated or made close to where it is used, cutting out the costs and inefficiencies of longer range distributions, where we are generating power to pump a fraction of that output the desired distance, or burning one tenth of the load capacity of long range tankers to carry the other nine tenths to a distant distribution depot.

    The speed at which algal and some bio-fuels are being perfected and marked down in price as volume rises is an important pointer to such a future. Even in the UK’s climate there are buildings that export electricity surpluses to the grid. There will be airports, before 2030, that refine their own alternative non fossil carbon releasing fuels in situ.

    This has nothing to do with altruism but making money from newer cheaper energy technologies.

    The PM may choke at the ‘green’ or ‘eco’ thought, but Badgerys Creek could be the airport that showcases new higher capacity terminal designs for next generation domestic airliners, as well as generating a very high proportion of its power needs and refining nearby, much of its fuel requirements.

  28. Jacob HSR

    michael r james #21,

    Changi and Hong Kong airports are government owned for the benefit of their citizens. While Melbourne and Sydney airports have been flogged off to create private monopolies for the benefit of oligarchs that own them.

    No surprise then that Changi is frequently ranked as the best airport in the world. While SYD and MEL continue to rip us off.

    Unless Government buys back SYD Airport, we cant support shutting down Kingsford Smith. For it would achieve nothing but shifting the monopoly to Badgerys Creek.

    In Singapore the electricity grid is also government owned for the benefit of the people of Singapore, while here in Victoria, the grid has been sold off for the benefit of private corporations and electricity prices, just like monopoly airport charges, are going up and up.

  29. michael r james

    I know you prefer two airports (and what, eventually on your logic, four or five airports like London?

    [The first thing that such a policy would do is persuade lots of business travel generating enterprises to leave Sydney for saner, more convenient locations.]

    Explain how that works for NYC (JFK moved ≈30km further out from LaGuardia), or Kansai (38km from Osaka), or Shanghai-Pudong (40km) or Narita (either 58km or 78km depending on method of calc), or Dulles (42km from WashDC), or KLIA (58km), or HKI (34km).

    Could you please give some examples of those “saner, more convenient locations”.

    Seriously that point which you keep repeating, just doesn’t stand up. I’d even say the evidence is the reverse: London airports have been a point of complaint by everyone since, well forever. Maybe it is a factor in why Paris’ business district (La Defense) grew to overtake London (and Frankfurt) to be Europe’s biggest business centre?

    Naturally if one is going to build a less-constrained airport (by definition it will be located a long way out of the host city), one simultaneously builds a really good rail link that meshes painlessly with the city’s transport network. (And the $12bn dedicated to West Connex road would go an awful long way towards this goal, whereas it will just create more congestion if spent on roads.)
    On fuel, seems like BK may have not done his homework? (I couldn’t read the whole piece.)

  30. Ben Sandilands


    London’s airport problems lie not in their numbers but how badly they are run.

    Multiple airports work very well when they are embedded in substantial sources of passenger numbers, and are well run. Let’s hope that Badgerys Creek is well run. And Sydney, better run. The best thing that could happen to Sydney Airport would be a competitive response to a well run Badgerys Creek.

    It may yet be that Bratislava Airport turns out to be very good for Vienna, and not just good for Ryanair, despite the consternation of some passengers unaware that it in Slovakia not Austria.

    Kansia by the way did not put Itami out of business, since Itami remains a functional and I’m told useful airport, although I haven’t been there since the year before Kansai opened. Your point about the two Shanghai airports puzzles me. They are both well used, and address different parts of that extraordinary city.

    I think multiple airports work exceedingly well when there are sufficient multiples of customers. Ask yourself what the traffic situation would be like on and around Manhattan if La Gaurdia was closed. Or how unthinkable Heathrow might be of there was no Gatwick. OK, we need a stronger word than unthinkable.

    I don’t get your point about La Défense. Depending on how you go about it Orly or CDG would work just as well as each other, and a train might well work better than them as well.

  31. michael r james

    In fact London doesn’t really work for your argument because Gatwick has been deserted by all the American lines (many of which used to use it):
    “US Airways, Gatwick’s last remaining US carrier, ended service from the airport on 30 March 2013. This leaves Gatwick without a scheduled American airline for the first time in over 35 years”

    Ben, your model appears to be railway stations, whereby large cities have a multitude scattered around, and all interconnected by PT, usually Metro. But airports don’t fit that model, and as Gatwick shows (or any of those cities with two airports like NYC or Paris or Tokyo) the airlines will eventually yield to the factors that matter (it was only govt decree that forced them to use Gatwick). London really only has one full-function international airport, in Heathrow, and your own travels will verify that. When did you last fly long-haul into anywhere other than LHR? As I mentioned recently, from Brighton I had to catch a Heathrow Express bus that sailed past Gatwick at about the midpoint of the journey, because CX or any other airline I am likely to use, does not service Gatwick. Of the top twenty destinations from Gatwick only two are outside Europe, Dubai (at #10) and Orlando (cheap holiday packages).

    Your points about 24 hour operation of Sydney West is just one factor that will thwart your desire to have two full-function Sydney airports (well, maybe not in your or my lifetimes). For most pax, certainly me, it won’t matter a damn if I pay my $16 to for a 20-30 min train trip to the airport whether it is KSA or Sydney West. And actually when smart countries build their new mega-airports they make it easier to get to than the old airports hemmed in by city growth and old infrastructure.

  32. Boston the Dog

    Your reason for the BNE terminals being so far apart is accepted.
    The ridiculous thing about that particular “plan” is how long it has taken to realise it. The terminals will ALWAYS be too far apart. At least in Sydney it is historic. In Brisbane they started with a relatively clean sheet. In the intervening years (decades?) people have had to get from one terminal to another. With a cargo terminal in between! The bad mouth was never intended to be implied.

  33. michael r james

    I think we can see that you are struggling to give examples of multiple airports that “work”.
    I think my points about London & Gatwick (posted without seeing your last post) trumps your comment. They are serving very different markets, and actually are not competing at all (perhaps only in the case of Emirates who flies to both). And I had to do a ≈80km road trip—PAST GATWICK–to get to Heathrow and millions of people are doing that endlessly all over SE England.

    Besides, you know my preferred route to London: fly into Paris-CDG and then Eurostar to London! I would even recommend it to bizoids (who, in their boring fashion, can avoid Paris and get the TGV at CDG airport now!) because of the wonderful calming 136 minutes on the TGV where they can chill out after a long flight, and peacefully work if they wish.

    Orly is Paris’ Gatwick. It is the older airport, much closer to Paris but actually proves my other point: more difficult to get to, requiring RER-B plus change to Orly-Val. To CDG just RER-B direct into T2 (and soonish the RER airport service will be separated from its suburban commuter trains).

    And Shanghai-Hongqiao exactly fits that same model. “Hongqiao Airport served as Shanghai’s primary airport until the completion of Pudong International Airport in 1999, when almost all international flights were moved to Pudong.”

    However I will admit that I prefer the one mega-airport, not only because of the obvious efficiencies, but because it will force the development of proper PT links. Only if the govt goes ahead with some piddling regional airport will it not matter. But no serious airline, or airport operator-owner, will be interested in Sydney West if it is not properly connected (and as Narita showed, roads are not enough; geez who wants 100km taxi ride or bus ride at the beginning or end of an international flight?)

    My second driver would use Berlin as the model. They are closing all three of their airports (eventually) and amalgamating into a single one (Berlin-Brandenburg) at least partly driven by the benefits of recovering significant slices of open land within the city that are getting redeveloped into parks, recreation centres and housing. I think it is a no-brainer to see the potential of those crown lands that KSA sits on. A terrific new “inner” city on the bay, perhaps with another cruise liner terminal etc. Relocation of Kai-Tak is another excellent example.

  34. michael r james

    [Kansia by the way did not put Itami out of business, since Itami remains a functional and I’m told useful airport, although I haven’t been there since the year before Kansai opened. Your point about the two Shanghai airports puzzles me. They are both well used, and address different parts of that extraordinary city.
    I think multiple airports work exceedingly well when there are sufficient multiples of customers. Ask yourself what the traffic situation would be like on and around Manhattan if La Gaurdia was closed. Or how unthinkable Heathrow might be of there was no Gatwick. ]

    Ben, this is all backwards. (As the highlighting reveals for yourself.) Ditto Gatwick, Ditto Orly. And especially La Guardia.
    The only reason Heathrow would be unthinkable without Gatwick is because 1. of its very non-ideal location and 2. poorly run. You are not making the correct comparison: it should never have come to LHR + Gatwick + Standsted + Luton because, one big international airport further out of London would have worked better than this awful dog’s breakfast. I happen to think Boris Island is not silly (and all the arguments against it seem very weak or political). But even Gatwick would have made more sense than allowing LHR to grow and grow. By rail it is effectively no less convenient to reach than LHR (and closer than Narita or Pudong or Dulles).

    BTW, Kansai struggled because it cost a motza (a lot more than originally budgeted, naturally) and so had to charge much higher fees than the old airport. This was eventually solved (by the usual: govt assuming some of the debt) and the fees normalized.

  35. Ben Sandilands


    I’m not struggling with anything. Well, not on these pages.

    Sydney is getting a second airport. It is in the interests of us all that the site be effectively developed and that it is supported by good infrastructure that will also serve the wider needs of the community, which clearly includes rail.

    I don’t think there is the faintest chance that a chaotic centralist political and community approach will now find the money or consensus or rationality in sending businesses activity running for safety elsewhere while central authority confiscates and redistributes assets and access to air transport to force the east to go west, assuming there is anyone left to redirect.

    The success of the two airport, and maybe one day, three airport ‘policy’ will depend on available investment capital, and we should hope, different owners of both airports.

    I don’t think my examples nor yours are necessarily instructive or relevant. And if you drive anywhere for 100 kms from Martin Place you will pass Badgerys Creek long before you reach that limit. Half that distance will get you from the Pacific to the Nepean. Or very close to.

  36. michael r james

    @Jacob HSR Posted April 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Indeed my megalomaniac (Haussmann + Napoleon III + Robert Moses + Bradfield) plans do seriously propose buying out SALC. (As I have pointed out previously on this blog, this may now be feasible given the recent transfer of shares from Macbank to individual shareholders which means an end to their toxic control; govt only needs to buy 51% even less if counting the current Future Fund portion).

    Even with the size of investment needed to build Sydney West into a full 3 runway international airport with fast train links to the rest of Sydney, the eventual return to the government will be a very big positive (and I don’t just mean the indirect benefits like economy, reducing congestion etc). Developing KSA as a mixed-used but largely residential new city would probably ultimately yield enough to pay for it all. But I have no problem following the Singapore or HK model and eventually selling up to 49% of Sydney West to outside investors. Just that, as you say, important strategic infrastructure like this should always remain under government control. As per Singapore, HK, USA etc.

  37. M K

    Seems like you all are for the airport. With airlines cutting flights I think your ideals are grand. What will happen in reality is that this project will just cost a lot of money, will be owned by the same operator and will cause noise and pollution problems to the community living there (and yes the proposed flight paths fly over highly populated areas). The benefits that you spout will never eventuate but the damage and cost will be incurred. The costs will be born by the public sector (land acquisition, road development, planning, etc) and the private operator will probably make the airport fail anyway using it to further enrich their profits. Socialise losses and privatise the profits as they say.

  38. Ben Sandilands

    M K

    You could be right about the same owner, and it’s not something that the Coalition can ever be proud of in that the sale of natural monopolies is contrary to managing a competitive economy.

    It doesn’t actually matter if Sydney were not to get a second airport in so far as the rest of the country is concerned, as it would increase economic activity at Sydney’s cost.

    The situation I’d like 2nd airport opponents to consider is what an older, poorer Sydney would be like it is doesn’t provide the jobs that provide the government revenues to support entitlements. However imperfect, and I hope, however good a job is done at Badgerys Creek, it will create useful jobs, and improve access to air travel for two million people who are nearer to it, will reducing the pressure they apply on the existing airport.

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