The new united front by Australian and New Zealand airlines to end their being mercilessly screwed by privately owned airports is seeking popular approval by identifying itself in the media as on the side of consumers victimised by such things as unjustifiably costly car parking charges.
It’s both a clever and welcome lever to use, even though the A4ANZ or Airlines for Australia and New Zealand website is much more focused on the neglect of airport infrastructure.
Although this is but Day One, a key issues that might engage A4ANZ would be curing Melbourne Airport’s vulnerability to long delays caused by adverse crosswinds by building a third runway ASAP.
Such a runway, which has been modelled in various forms by Melbourne Airport’s owners, would also ease peak hour congestion even when strong westerlies aren’t playing havoc with schedules.
There have long been mutterings from pilots and some operational people about the need for the Melbourne’s terminal airspace to be redesigned, something of potential attraction to the residents of suburbs affected by a concentration of traffic that approaches the main airport by overflying nearby Essendon airport.
REX or Regional Express appears to be something of the odd person out when in comes to the membership of A4ANZ. Not to put too fine a point on it, but REX’s tiny turboprops really get in the way of the bigger slot hungry ambitions of the other much larger airlines, and they’d probably like to see it dead.
The PR quote from REX’s Executive Chairman Lim Kim Hai is exquisitely constructed. He says “A4ANZ is critical for regional communities as major airports are all too ready to sacrifice critical regional interests.
“Rex looks forward to working with Professor Samuel and the Board to ensure the sustainability of all stakeholders big or small in the aviation industry.”
There is no chance that the likes of Qantas CEO Alan Joyce or his Virgin Australia peer John Borghetti will be seen shoulder to shoulder brandishing placards outside airport shareholder meetings, or responding to crises of “What do we want?” with a chorus line of “Another Melbourne runway”.
But a united front against the legacy of the dumbest and most ruinous privatisations in Australian history, that of monopoly gateway airports, might yet produce some fireworks.