May 2, 2017

Sydney Airport says No to Badgerys Creek, and to future fee gouging!

The threat of a continued monopoly over the pricing of airline access to greater Sydney appears to have removed itself

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

The owners of Sydney Airport have decided not to exercise their first right of refusal to build a second airport at the Commonwealth owned site at Badgerys Creek on the western margins of its metropolitan sprawl. This means that as already announced, the Federal Government will build the first single runway stage of the jet curfew free airport and seek to sell it to alternative owners before or after Stage One of the project opens in 2026. The 'first right of refusal' to build such an airport was a sweetener in the $5.6 billion sale of the existing Sydney Airport in 2002. That right potentially gave the owners of Sydney Airport a long term lease base monopoly on the setting of airport user charges on airlines, their passengers, and terminal retailing prices including car parking fees over the entire Sydney basin until early in the 22nd century. It has drawn persistent criticism from the ACCC,  other consumer bodies, and tourism operators and the airlines themselves ever since. The decision by Sydney Airport means that once the new airport starts operating price competition between itself and Sydney West airport for airline services and passenger facilities could end price gouging and add to the attractions of a Sydney gateway for surging levels of inbound travel, particularly from China. Sydney West will be capable of taking full load operations by all existing and planned airliners from Day One, will direct flights over almost totally uninhabited sections of the Blue Mountains by night, and not be impeded by the noise and curfew restrictions affecting the established Sydney Airport, which is close to the harbour city's major CBD, yet inconvenient in terms of access for an estimated 2.2 million of greater Sydney's current population of around 4.7 million people. The building of Stage One of Sydney West airport is generally put at around $5 billion, with about $1 billion for the first stage terminal. Outside the airport's boundaries some $7 billion in federal funds have been committed for access roadworks that are already under construction.  There is a controversy over the need to connect to airport from its opening date to the Sydney metropolitan railway system, which could be done at minimal cost by extending the recently built SW rail link to Leppington to the terminal with a view to further extensions including a proposed Western Sydney Rail line from Macarthur well south of the airport to St Marys, well to its north on Sydney's main east-west rail line. The SW rail link itself is integrated into the airport line that already serves Sydney Airport.

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41 thoughts on “Sydney Airport says No to Badgerys Creek, and to future fee gouging!

  1. comet

    Suddenly, I hear cheering and applause from the Australian population.

  2. Jaeger

    Don’t cheer just yet; they’re fishing for a sweeter deal.

    From the ABC News article:
    “The release said Sydney Airport still had three months left to review the material terms of the WSA operation, whether the Federal Government elected to run the airport or offer terms to another party.

    ‘If the terms are more favourable, Sydney Airport would have the option to develop and operate the airport on those terms,’ the ASX release said.”

    1. Ben Sandilands

      The final line in the ASX notification suggests a sweeter deal may not be offered.

      1. Ian Fraser

        And I applaud that – thank you Ben for all your stirring!

        1. Kapo

          The only sure sign that the silver stake has had the desired effect is when the astroturfers appear trying to protect the endangered Nepean cricket or enforce a curfew so said cricket is not interrupted in it’s nocturnal activities. As you may have gathered the Nepean cricket is essential for the survival of the Mill Pond Golden Goose.

  3. caf

    …and there was much rejoicing!

  4. Jacob HSR

    AUS is corrupt – so maybe Badgerys Creek and Mascot will be owned by the same private entity.

    After all, the sick mantra of the ALP and LNP is “it is ok for government to own assets as long as it is a foreign government”!

  5. ghostwhowalksnz

    As ive said for a long time
    “A group representing international airlines including Qantas and Virgin Australia said Western Sydney Airport was most likely to appeal to carriers serving short-haul leisure destinations in its early years”
    Budget airlines on the Australian east coast and through to Adelaide. My estimate some years back was traffic similar to Hobart in its first 5 years. Thats the ‘high chance outlook’. My ‘low chance outlook’ is that it struggles even with the budget carriers to capital city destinations and fades after its opening bang. A bit like Avalon.
    When things get tight at Sydney , it may be the flights at SWA that get cancelled, just because they dont bring in the same revenue.

    1. comet

      If the government provides a rail link that services the western suburbs it’ll work.

      If there’s no rail link they may as well name the new airport Mirabel II.

    2. Randall

      Doesn’t that overlook all the advantages that Badgery’s will have? Curfew free for international carriers, closer to the majority of Sydney’s population, closer to logistics centres for cargo? I’d imagine that international carriers who have multiple flights to Sydney each day would stick a service out a BC? EK, CX, or SIA?

      1. michael r james

        ’d imagine that international carriers who have multiple flights to Sydney each day would stick a service out a BC? EK, CX, or SIA?

        Flying into two different airports in the same city? No, the airlines hate it and have said they don’t want it. Thus, what Ghost wrote earlier is most likely the scenario to come true, ie. short-range LCCs.
        Allan Joyce said yesterday that these two airports can operate like London’s Heathrow and Gatwick (or Stansted). Remember that originally the authorities wanted Gatwick to take some of the international pressure off Heathrow and so it handled transatlantic traffic, ie. the American airlines plus BA. However today not a single American line uses Gatwick as they all shifted to Heathrow (it’s got to do with connectivity) and Gatwick only has a couple of the majors (BA and Emirates) and the rest are LCCs for short-haul Europe, MENA.
        Joyce has also overlooked that the London airports have a catchment of the order of 30 million compared to one fifth or one sixth for Sydney.

    3. Ben Sandilands

      If Plane Talking had the necessary $$$ it would offer you a hosted tour of greater Sydney, including western Sydney to bring your understanding of the need for, and the pressure that will be from day one, on a second Sydney airport, up to date.

      1. derrida derider

        Randall above has it right. BC has 3 things in its favour – the curfew, obviously, but also being close to where most Sydneyites actually live, and being next to the existing wholesale and retail logistic hub for the whole east coast. A trip out there and a look around would make those last two apparent.
        Even with the usual (for NSW governments) complete ballsup of the surrounding road and rail links I think its profits will pleasantly surprise its investors, whoever they turn out to be.

  6. Ian Fraser

    I want to pick you up on why you wrote the last line: “The SW rail link itself is integrated into the airport line that already serves Sydney Airport”.
    That is the case, of course, but how many travellers actually want to go airport to airport? Very few, though one can’t put statistics on it. [We don’t yet know exactly which airlines will fly into and out of WSA].
    So, don’t you think that’s a furphy, in terms of infrastructure planning considerations?

    My understanding is that the demand projections which most Big 4 advisors’ reports on the 2nd Sydney Airport utilised, were actually based on Booz modelling (I think from 2009 initially) and that Booz modelling assumed NO rail link to wherever the 2nd airport might be based [remember that they had so many location options to filter through]. No wonder they thought WSA didn’t need to be very big to start with, as it would only serve a local catchment if there weren’t good transport access.

    Now, from what I’ve seen of that original Booz modelling it was based on Domestic & International Visitor Surveys by Tourism Research Australia and the data from those surveys showed the great preponderance of travellers were either going to Sydney CBD as their next destination, or were coming from it – I think from memory the proportion was high, being something like 60%.

    That could have implications indicating that official studies have under-estimated WSA’s competitiveness and future demand IF it not only has good rail linkage but particularly IF it has modern, fast rail access.

    Of course, the situation may change when we have 2 airports, and as Parramatta grows under the plan to make it a 2nd CBD. Also if the Greater Sydney Commission adopts plans to put more population way out west. So there will be more people than now wanting to emanate from or go to locations in the west, which will temper what I just said about the importance of Sydney’s CBD.
    However, the truth of the matter is that (for the majority of inbound tourists and business people, and even a fair proportion of the local populace) the rail route via Leppington (which Labor have now repeated their backing for with a minuscule amount) would be slow – we’ve had that discussion before – back I think around Oct’16. We then came to the conclusion that via the East Hills Line into the Sydney CBD was going to be 58 minutes at best and that was to Museum as the 1st CBD station because of the way that trains run around the City Circle. Moreover, the scope for extra express services is limited by the over-crowding on the East Hills line already.

    So the case still applies that for maximum benefit to air travellers through WSA, it needs a new train line. Moreover the announced Metro West looks like it might use the same train sets as North West Metro, namely ones that chug along at no more than generally 80 km/h [Alstom Metrop0lis variety – top speed of breed understood to be 100 km/h].

    It seems to me that the Aurecon/Parramatta Council work needs better support and that Metro West should not be a standard metro but instead a faster commuter train which would still have the capability to reach Badgerys Creek faster than (say) 35-40 minutes [John Kasardis’ recommendation], right from a key hub like Town Hall or Wynyard. That would be far better than the SW rail link route, and it would have ample capacity and potential regularity of service (something the SW rail cannot provide seeing it serves multiple purposes).

    1. Ben Sandilands

      Ian Fraser,

      When I said ‘integrated’ I should have explained that it was built to allow such a routing via Glenfield. I’ve argued in the past precisely your point about their being little demand for a rail link between both airports, and I think we are in agreement that it would be much better to build new metropolitan lines in Sydney to take the duplex sized trains now used, rather than the single decker metro style chosen inexplicably for the NW Rail link, which is the antithesis of a short haul stand up rail service, and also limits the future capacity of trains across the third cross harbour city rail link ever built, the second having been part of the original Sydney Harbour Bridge build, where the eastern lane tramway was considered a temporary measure by the chief engineer for the project, JJ Bradfield. Of course you can build a standard heavy rail line and stations in a manner compatible with both single deck and duplex trains, but the Baird Government stuffed that up in a manner that I think history will not look upon kindly. The capacity of that administration to screw over winning ideas and make them mediocre is to be lamented.

      1. Ian Fraser

        A further point to make is that the East Hills Line has not been planned properly for a long while. There are many reasons for this, of course.

        One of the things that irked me was that Speedrail under Dale Budd had a proposal to build a high speed rail link from Canberra using TGV technology and they were going to use the East Hills corridor to get their TGV’s into the city. This was the 1990’s but eventually the Howard Government knocked them back on a basis that it seems the Turnbull Govt is willing to accept nowadays. They said “no net cost to Government” – which of course, is ridiculous in the context of backbone infrastructure like rail links that are affected significantly by government decision-making (sovereign risk and lack of certainty). Also what I recall is that the NSW rail bureaucracy was against allowing the East Hills line to be used by Speedrail.

        So the corridor from Glenfield is not adequate for long term purposes regarding capacity for a growing city. This is a general problem in our country and is aggravated by our Federal system where State & Federal Governments often conflict, even though the Commonwealth has useful Constitutional powers regarding railways.

        If a corridor had been set aside long ago for a 2nd airport, even if it wasn’t designed precisely as eventually required, we would be in so much a better position. This goes right through our transport problems, including notoriously high-speed rail. And of course a rail corridor doesn’t need anywhere near as much land as a motorway corridor…

        Your comment about type of trains is also well to the point. I think once the rail bureaucracy gets used to something they find it hard to adapt to something different [hence we might get metro trains even out far west]. I fear their political masters have little knowledge of latest train technologies, either. Decades of under-investment in rail has ‘hollowed out’ the knowledge bank in the transport bureaucracy, perhaps.

        1. caf

          Funnily enough, the existing non-fast trains to Canberra now go via the East Hills line.

    2. Dan Dair

      Ian Fraser,
      ““The SW rail link itself is integrated into the airport line that already serves Sydney Airport”.
      That is the case, of course, but how many travellers actually want to go airport to airport?”

      IMO it’s not about the ‘right-now’, but about the ‘not-too-distant-future’.?
      Badgery’s will be assisted to develop by passengers being able to connect to the ‘main’ Sydney airport & utilise those existing international services.?
      Without that interconnectivity, Badgery’s could easily become an Avalon or Mirabel.

      If you fly-in to BCA from the sticks on a service which otherwise wouldn’t get a slot at KSA, you might still want to fly-on to Singapore or Germany.? If you can actually, realistically connect at Sydney, it becomes a better option than driving 100km to get to an airport with a flight into KSA.?

      If Emirates follow-up on it’s comments about sending their ‘late’ flight into BCA instead of KSA, because it can take-off from Dubai at a more convenient departure time in their time-zone & won’t have to worry about beating a curfew in Sydney, it would generate a big plane-load of passengers who would require that interconnectivity. Both to KSA & to the CBD.!

      ‘London’ has SIX airports which bear it’s name. Of which. only Heathrow (LHR) & City (LCY) airports are connected by the very-extensive underground network. All of the other airports are a minimum of two hours away from eachother by bus/coach. (Stanstead (STN) & Luton (LTN) are about an hour from eachother but there’s not actually much passenger interconnectivity) There is no direct or dedicated rail service between any of them.
      This is why Heathrow is angling for another runway. It is full. (It is actually one of (if not) the most efficient airports in the world in terms of runway utilisation)
      Not counting City, all the other London airports are a long way below capacity. But because of the lack of any kind of joined-up-thinking about how Londons’ airports integrate with eachother & operate as a collective unit, Heathrow is bulging at the seams, whilst the other airports are comparative backwaters. (I believe that Gatwick (LGW) is the worlds busiest single-runway airport, but even it is a backwater by comparison with Heathrow)

      1. Ian Fraser

        Dan Dair

        I think you are forgetting that people will plan their trips from overseas to here based on what they know of the transport connections and how best to optimise their choice of flights. If an individual doesn’t do this themselves then likely it is a travel agent doing the figuring.

        If the connections aren’t available or are slow, people will just tend to “cope”. As far as planning for infrastructure goes, it can’t meet all requirements but certainly has to satisfy by far the greatest majority.

        1. Dan Dair

          Ian Fraser,
          I was coming at it from a perspective of promoting growth at the new airport.

          Passengers already dislike KSA.
          It would not be in the interest of the new airport to find that passengers instantly disliked it because it wasn’t near to anything useful in terms of infrastructure.
          When you get off the plane with all your bags you don’t want to just ‘cope’, you want to easily manage & the smoother the better.!

          The connections to the CBD & the connections to KSA will be vital to the success of the new airport.
          If passengers arrive & feel like they’re in a field somewhere in the outback, they’ll be very unimpressed.
          If they arrive & can seamlessly move to the station which take them to KSA or the CBD without having to change (even if it’s just a regular suburban train), then they’re smoothly & easily transiting the system to arrive at their destination. Their feedback is positive and they’ll travel the same way next time.?

          1. Ian Fraser

            Yes, We are on the same page as regards the need for smooth transport connections, but my point was that such transport needs to be able to take passengers reasonably quickly where they want to go in Sydney. Because of the distances, road times and costs (more tolls on M12 with M5 & m4 new tolls even before then) will be quite high, so the rail link is needed. However, also because the statistics for inbound travellers show that primary orientation is towards the CBD and Harbour, the rail link won’t work successfully if it is a slow one (like the proposed metro to Parramatta, or coming along the East Hills Line which will take about an hours at fastest, but infrequent, service).

            Where we were disagreeing was I thought you were playing up the movement between the 2 airports as a justification for the rail link to be via Leppington & Glenfield, whereas I am saying that inter-airport movement is a fairly minor item in cost-justifying what the design of the rail link should be.

            Your point about seamless movement between transport modes at WSA is very important – the design of the airport terminal and its underground stations are vitally important in that regard and my great fear is that the Commonwealth is underestimating what it should do to make that very effective, because it is trying to simultaneously design the growth of the whole of Western Sydney without realising that means WSA needs multiple railway connections (if not onsite, then certainly smooth interchanges nearby). They look like they’ll go for (i) via Leppington and then (ii) on Chris Brown’s magical (but again very slow) orbital corridor between Campbelltown and Penrith, in order to develop more urban residential sprawl, and forget about travellers needs to get quickly to the CBD and Harbour.

      2. michael r james

        If interconnection between two airports in the same big city is deemed required then the system has already failed. And it has. Because it is nuts. The fact that London has six airports is a manifestation of massive failure of planning in London & UK for the past 60 years. I know you and Ben and others go on about people in the north using Stansted, people in the south using Gatwick but none of this is true overall. (If it is true it is only for LCCs and limited short-haul destinations.) The reality is lots of people traversing the home counties and London to get to Heathrow (and until CrossRail opens, using the shitty Picadilly line or the stupidly expensive H Express). If it weren’t true, they wouldn’t be agonising over LHR’s third runway. But the major international airlines don’t want to operate out of Gatwick (where it would be easier and vastly cheaper to build another runway). And Dan, your “efficiency of LHR” is merely the result of decades of indecision on the third runway. For the same reason Gatwick is the most “efficient” single-runway airport in the world.

        But you’re right about the London thing: that idiocy is the exact same omni-shambles that Australian politicians blindly follow their UK betters. It’s why Howard privatised KSA and gave them a 100km total monopoly (as Maggie gave BAA a monopoly of all three major London airports! Took decades to unravel that mess.). Now they’re intent on repeating the London-Gatwick mess. As I have said since about 2009, Hong Kong (Kai Tak to Chek Lap Kok) is the model we should follow. Turnbull is trying for two major infrastructure disasters on his record (NBN is the other one).

        1. Dan Dair

          Michael R James,
          I’m not one of those who say people in the North fly from Stansted etc..?
          I completely agree that’s it’s a mess. forty years ago the planners decided they were going to build the new London ad ‘UK gateway’ airport near to Kidlington, not far from Oxford.
          Unfortunately for everyone else in the UK, the NIMBY’s got up on their back legs & blocked the plan.
          Consequently, the UK is where it is.
          I also agree about why LHR & LGW are so ‘efficient’. It’s a necessity.

          I’ve disagreed with you before about the privatisation of the British Airports Authority.! IMO it wasn’t anything like the disaster for London that selling-off KSA was for Sydneysiders.?
          And because there were three London airports owned by BAA, the ‘monopoly’ could be broken by making the new owners sell-off two of them.!

          London City isn’t really a part of the rest of the London airports lack of integration, because of it’s runway length.
          Taking that out of the equation;
          None of the remaining five airports have direct rail-links to eachother,
          Few of them have really good rail-links to the CBD,
          All the bus/coach links in-between airports & to the CBD are subject to the massive problems of traffic jams around London & the M25 orbital motorway.

          IMO the lack of interconnectivity is the reason why no-one wants to fly to any other airport than LHR.
          If all the ‘London’ airports worked as one big machine it would be exceptional.
          Since they don’t & it isn’t, omnishambles is a very appropriate term.
          Just as a little aside, if I was going to privatise a major utility, I’d almost certainly be looking to take an annual ‘dividend’ in addition to tax dollars as part of that agreement.
          The money that Macquarrie group paid for KSA at the time was probably no more than it’s book-value.? If all you realise from the sale is that cash-value, IMO you should be looking to get an additional annual return.

          1. michael r james

            They are already talking about privatising WSA to recoup the government investment but as you point out with KSA, they will only recover a small fraction of the real cost. And I doubt a privatisation will be possible for decades as it is going to be a third rate LCC airport for the foreseeable future (like Stansted; this may be why it was included in the package deal of the three London airports as it probably couldn’t be privatised by itself). Of course one couldn’t rule out the LNP selling WSA on the cheap to SAC to recreate the same monopoly.

            IMO the lack of interconnectivity is the reason why no-one wants to fly to any other airport than LHR. If all the ‘London’ airports worked as one big machine it would be exceptional. Since they don’t & it isn’t, omnishambles is a very appropriate term.

            Yep. Given the mess their seemingly buried concept of a HSR link was a good one (but don’t worry Ben, I won’t launch into my usual rant).
            Meanwhile apparently: (Ean Higgins, yesterday):

            The one key thing WSA almost certainly won’t have at first is a rail connection, something critics say is its most fundamental and outdated flaw, since reliance on road will only compound already severe traffic congestion.

            Ahem, something I have said over and over. On top of that, Higgins reviewed the fancy-pants hi-design of Fletcher for the WSA Terminal (to be of Changi standards). Hah, gotta be joking. This government will make it a tin shed (though it will still cost more than Changi or HKI). Gigantic carparks with world’s highest fees. You know, all the usual …

  7. Jacob HSR

    IATA: none ICAO: none

    How soon can they get an IATA code for it?

    If AMS airport has a high speed rail station then IATA: none should also have a high speed rail station.

  8. patrick kilby

    Dan as one who has done the LHR Gatwick connection a few times. Life would be much easier if the trains to each stopped at a common station to connect; and 2) it is less than two hours and the connecting buses are full. Check the flights there. Not quite the backwater you think. I suspect QF will have to provide domestic flights to major cities from Badgeries at at the frequency as from Canberra from day one. There are an awful lot people in Western Sydney.

    1. Dan Dair

      Patrick Kilby,
      That’s what comes of London having about seven significant ‘regional’ terminus stations.!! Maybe the new ‘crossrail’ tunnel will help.?

      IMO you did well if you got between the two airports in under 2 hours.! What time of day was it.?
      The buses between LHR & LGW are always busy. I was specifically referring to links between STN & LTN (which are the two nearest to eachother) when I said ‘there’s not actually much passenger interconnectivity’.

      I agree that by comparison with most airports, LGW isn’t a backwater.
      It’s much busier than the other London airports, but by comparison with LHR it’s not so hectic & its really far away.!!
      I agree with you on services out of BCA.
      Western Sydney will obviously need to be served from Melbourne & in the 5+ years they’ve got before the new airport opens, there’s plenty of time for airlines to nail-down some proper market-research into the level of services necessary to generate sustainable routes from there.?

      IF Emirates put their ‘late’ flight into BCA & once (other) international flights commence, it will create an infrastructural need to connect such flights to a network of domestic routes.
      Domestic connectivity generates international attractiveness.
      International services require domestic interconnectivity.

      1. michael r james

        It’s (Gatwick) much busier than the other London airports, but by comparison with LHR it’s not so hectic & its really far away.!!

        Well, it takes 30 minutes on the Gatwick Express so that’s half the time on the Piccadilly Line to LHR. Yes, London CrossRail should hugely improve things but it’s about 40-60 years too late. (Of course that presumes they will close down the Heathrow Express so LCR can use its ROW and tunnels and call directly at all terminals; if not then you’ll probably have to get a shuttle bus which will have to circumnavigate half the site, ffs!)

        1. Dan Dair

          Michael R James,
          “30 mins on the Gatwick Express”
          Which is IMO actually really impressive, considering its about equally as far away from Londons CBD as any of the ‘London’ airports.
          Luton, Stanstead & Southend are roughly the same straight-line distance away, but there’s no straight-line rail service to any of them.?

          1. michael r james

            Luton, Stanstead & Southend are roughly the same straight-line distance away, but there’s no straight-line rail service to any of them.?

            It may have been a bit of rare sensible planning. Of course it is on the mainline to the south (ie. Brighton & Southampton etc) and Gatwick is pretty much the midpoint. It takes 55 minutes from London-Vic to Brighton (I travelled that route for 4 years) and all the trains pass thru and most stop at Gatwick (there isn’t much advantage to using the Express since it is a fast train service anyway). Stansted is nominally on the London-Cambridge line but sufficiently off it that a spur is required and which means (or meant; decades since I used it) an irritating low frequency of service to both (London or Cambridge). Just looked at a map and while Stansted is pretty much right on the M11 and the Cambridge railway parallels the road, just at that point the railway takes a wide loop west so it is about 4 km west of Stansted; this means only dedicated trains go to Stansted instead of every single train to Brighton and the south passes thru Gatwick (and most stop, even the express trains from Brighton make one stop, at Gatwick).

  9. Suti I

    At the moment there is nothing that leaves Singapore between 930am and 730pm due to Sydney’s curfew. I’m sure Singapore airlines would love to fly an aircraft into Sydney that leaves after 930am (say 12pm), lands in Sydney West at 10pm, then turns around back to Singapore at midnight, arriving back at Singapore at 6am.

    Similar cases can be made for other SE Asian regions.

  10. Dan Dair

    While I’m up on my back legs ranting…….
    I was reminded of something whilst talking about London airports;
    All this talk about Badgery’s Creek being too parochial for an airport name pales into insignificance next to the village which gives London’s Stansted airport its name…….
    Stansted Mountfitchet.?????

    1. michael r james

      They should have moved it 10km further north then it could have been Saffron Walden International Airport! (SW is one of those twee commuter villages for Cambridge U. folk.) Saffron Burrows was born there (no she wasn’t, I just made that up).

      1. Dan Dair

        Saffron Walden (indeed pretty-much anyone called Saffron.!) sounds like it should be the name of a pop star, supermodel or actress.?

        according to Wikipedia, Mountfitchet actually WAS the family name of one of King William (the Conqueror’s) knights.?

  11. Ben Sandilands

    I don’t think you understand western Sydney as it has suddenly become, nor the pressure inbound tourism is putting on the existing airport, nor even the fact that low cost air travel (to my chagrin) swallows a higher proportion of SYD traffic every year. I admit that I didn’t understand these things earlier either, but I did unlearn my preconceptions.
    All that is needed is to make both airports inexpensively connected to the greater metropolitan rail network, notwithstanding numerous dazzling and fabulously costly proposals that arise from time to time to put 300 kmh lines across a 50 km wide Sydney basin. The gate fee at SYD was only around $6 when the East Hills line was diverted under it. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was no gate fee at either airport when Sydney West opens, keeping in mind there is no need for major underground construction at the newer airport. In fact you can find drawings which show how it could be done with no underground platforms, and room for expansion beyond a mere double track permanent way going through the site from north to south.

    1. Dan Dair

      How many platforms are there at Schipol or El Prat.?
      It’s not unreasonable to plan well-ahead at BCA for a long-term future where 10 or 12 platforms are available for inter-airport/CBD services, suburban & future inter-city HST.
      Since they’re creating the airport from bare-earth, there’s nothing standing in the way of creating a cavernous railway station space during construction, which can be utilised & integrated in the future as it becomes required.?

      IMO linking the airports to eachother, the CBD & the rest of the rail network is a vital part of the short & long-term future for BCA and how it integrates with the existing success of KSA.?

    2. michael r james

      All that is needed is to make both airports inexpensively connected to the greater metropolitan rail network, notwithstanding numerous dazzling and fabulously costly proposals that arise from time to time to put 300 kmh lines across a 50 km wide Sydney basin.

      Hah, it will be decades (or taking the British model upon which we seem to base all our idiot infrastructure planning, 60 years) before that happens. As to your second suggestion, I don’t think anyone has proposed that kind of thing. I remember on this very blog saying that what is required for western Sydney is a fast service like Paris RER but a true HSR doesn’t make any sense at all. (Well ok I retain a weakness for the spectacular MagLev …).

      I am perfectly aware of the nature of Western Sydney (after all it is where Gough hailed from) but the problem is that Australia and Sydney’s population is simply not enough to support international flights to all the usual destinations from two airports in the Sydney basin. And even the London example that Joyce promotes is silly because almost everyone visitor flies into Heathrow, and it is mostly Brits using LCCs using Gatwick and Stansted. Emirates might use it (because they seem to fly everywhere; they are the only other major non-Brit airline that uses both LHR and Gatwick) but I’m not even sure JetStar will; after all JS customers are connecting to Qantas international flights and vice versa, and no one will want to spend the 2 hours “changing” from WSA to KSA (esp. without a train; what, a $200 taxi ride?).
      As for the other examples of cities with two airports, first they are all multiples in size of Sydney (NYC area is about 4x; Tokyo is 7x; Paris is about 3x, etc etc).

      The logistics and economics don’t add up.
      As for Dan Dair’s “nothing standing in the way of creating a cavernous railway station space during construction, which can be utilised & integrated in the future as it becomes required”. Hah, you gotta be joking. This is Australia where forward planning, not least spending money today on it, is simply out of the question. About the only way you’d get that is if you fooled them into pretending it was for some bloody huge road tunnel … or maybe parking lot (with a 50 year lease to the private owners).

      1. michael r james

        Didn’t finish:
        As for the other examples of cities with two airports, first they are all multiples in size of Sydney (NYC area is about 4x; Tokyo is 7x; Paris is about 3x, etc etc).

        Second, their second airports, usually the older one closer to the CBD (like Orly or Haneda) are not the major international portal. How many times have you flown into any of these secondary airports? I think I might have used Orly once in the 40 years I have been travelling to/from Paris. I may have used Gatwick in the early 80s when the American lines uses it. Then there’s Berlin which (eventually) is consolidating its three airports into one mega-airport.

        Incidentally, other than than the usual poor planning and parsimony, the real reason why they won’t build that rail line to WSA is because they know the airport will be a minor low-use airport for decades. Oh, and Dan’s talk of “linking the airports to each other, the CBD & the rest of the rail network is a vital part of the short & long-term future for BCA and how it integrates with the existing success of KSA”: No. Look at all these other two-airport city cases and think about how “easy” it is to get from one to the other. Haneda/Narita terrible. Gatwick-LHR: hour bus ride (marginally faster than going into London and out again; you’re at the mercy of M25 congestion so they enforce you to factor in much greater times). JFK (or La Guardia) to Newark: terrible (though I think it might have a train these days, from Penn Station? I’ve only ever used the bus.) Even CDG to Orly is awful if the best of this lot (RER-B but a very long journey and with transfer to VAL for the final bit.) The reasons are clear: it makes absolutely no sense to have interconnecting flights between different airports!

      2. Dan Dair

        Michael R James,
        “creating a cavernous railway station space during construction”

        I take your point about forward-planning,
        but I reiterate my point that all I was talking about was creating the space.!
        They’re going to have to dig holes for foundations & underground services. (Water, electric, etc. Not railways.???)
        If they dig them deeper, it’ll cost a little more comparatively, but not a lot more.
        If they then create a substantial railway station space, they’ll only actually need to spend money building 2 platforms initially. Again, this will cost comparatively little or nothing more, that would be in the original budget.?
        Only when there was the opportunity to expand the rail connections or the HSR finally linked-up to the airport, would there actually be any need to spend money building platforms, installing staircases & putting-down proper flooring into that remaining space. ?
        Until that time came, they COULD use the space as car-parking.!!!!

  12. Dan Dair

    Michael R James,
    “Look at all these other two-airport city cases and think about how “easy” it is to get from one to the other”

    I know you’re a fan of replacing multiple airports with one ‘mega-hub’.?
    I agree that it has it’s merits, which we needn’t debate.

    But, since that isn’t on the table for BCA;
    IMO the argument you make for how bad two airport interconnectivity around the world is, only reinforces my point that “linking the airports……is a vital part of the short & long-term future for BCA”.

    If you create a rail-link which will directly (without changing trains, not necessarily a dedicated non-stop line) connect the two airports in 30-45 minutes and make the experience painless & affordable, it will allow the airports to work together in a way not achieved at any of those others you mention.

    The fact that it isn’t done well anywhere else, is proof that their infrastructure is unsuitable.
    It isn’t proof that it can’t be done at all.!

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