Sydney's Second Airport - The Gods Must Be Crazy
The history and latest developments in plans for Sydney's Second Airport are discussed here with a special focus on the impacts on Bankstown Airport and South West Sydney..

Airlines have to be pretty clever with their maths if they are to get their planes into the air and safely to their destinations... It's time they turned their mathematics onto the funding the runways and airport resources they use.


737's At Bankstown

In January 2003, Airservices Australia released a report which at last puts on the table the plans to fly aircraft as large as 737-300's into Bankstown on a regular basis. It indicates there could be at least 12 per hour - or one every 5 minutes. What effect will this have on the residents of Bankstown, Condell Park, GeorgesHall, Chipping Norton, and Casula ?
...Their whole house will shake as these monsters thunder in and out of Bankstown...


(The report "The Operational Capability Of Bankstown Airport To Handle Regular Public Transport (Rpt) Services" can be found at the Aviation Operations branch of Dept of Transport)

This site is not opposed to airports in the right location, but rather to the selective deregulation which has left in place protection for locational decisions and huge public subsidies that ignore fair economic principles and fly in the face of respect for our environment.

See Main Menu Home item for table of contents of this page, or BEAR Site Map for other pages

Formula Noise

Formula One Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart hopes to have a new budget airline called OzJet flying Australia's east coast by Christmas.

Mr Stoddart, in Australia for the Grand Prix, said that OzJet would take on Virgin Blue and Qantas discount airline JetStar.

"We'll start off with about half a dozen aircraft, probably launching in about October," he told the Ten Network.

"We're hoping to get in just before Christmas."

OzJet would initially focus on the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane markets and would most likely operate from suburban airports like Essendon and Moorabbin in Melbourne, Bankstown in Sydney and Archerfield in Brisbane.

Sydney Morning Herald, March 8, 2004 - 8:05AM

The British-built BAe146 had a chequered past while operating on regional routes in Western Australia with Ansett. They are regarded as a "dog" by many pilots for their slow performance, low operational ceiling and well known characteristic of emitting fumes into cabin areas.

Geoff Easdon, Melbourned Herald Sun, 8th March 2004

Stoddardt wants to fly these dogs over residential areas, and trivialises the noise impacts by saying they are no noisier than a semi trailer's air brakes. Well, news for Mr Stoddardt, not too many people can sleep through a semi trailer air braking outside their home. And if you were bothered by truck noise, you could grow a hedge or erect a noise barrier - as is now commonly done on all motorway projects.

But you can't grow hedges in the sky, and can't erect a barrier to noise coming from anywhere above your home. Moving to the back of the house won't help you either - the noise is completely unavoidable.

Formula 1 drivers and crew now wear heavy ear protection to avoid a fate like that of Jack Brabham, Australia's first Formula 1 champion who was virtually deafened as a result of noise damage during his racing career. Only noise-insensitive people or those with little respect for their hearing would frequent a Formula 1 track. So Stoddardt is hardly a credible person to be advising us about the safety of aircraft noise.

No thanks, Mr Stoddardt, we don't want your noisy dodgy ex-Ansett aircraft waking us up day and night. Find a better home for them.

Almost Wilton = Labor's Reliever Airport ?

The Labor party's new leader, Mark Latham, announced selection of a list of Southern Highland sites as candidates for a reliever second airport (ALP Annual Conference, Sydney, 30th Jan, 2004). The list included Wilton, which came second to Badgery's Creek in the 1984 airport site selection process (click for SMH map of sites). Latham's announcement at least resolved the uncertainty of the ALP's position on Badgery's Creek, but it failed to deliver the firm site selection promised by his predecessor Simon Crean.
Labor pledges no-frills airport
Sydney Morning Herald, January 31, 2004

Labor has opened a new front in the fight over aircraft noise in Sydney, with a compromise plan to build a second airport between Wilton and the Southern Highlands catering mainly for "overflow" domestic traffic. The plan seeks to ease the noise around Sydney Airport by attracting "no-frills" operators such as Virgin, Qantas's new JetStar and Rex. The compromise, forged with the backing of the Opposition Leader, Mark Latham, commits Labor to a new environmental impact study of a range of possible sites south of the Nepean River during its first term in government. The sites include Wilton, on Sydney's south-western fringe, and Wells Creek, Sutton Forest and Berrima in the Southern Highlands.

The plan suggests only the low-budget domestic traffic will move to the new airport. But domestic passengers are likely to be those most affected by longer travel times to the airport. KSA affected residents are concerned that the reliever plan could leave them worse off. Moving lighter domestic aircraft elsewhere will see the KSA slots filled by much noisier aircraft.

The previous Badgery's Creek proposal could have done the same thing to KSA residents. And Badgery's Creek could have been developed as a lower impact reliever airport, rather than apparently abandoned as is now the case. However, it is now clear that it is off the Labor party's agenda.

For Bankstown residents, there remains a serious threat that airlines will prefer to expand Bankstown to play the domestic airport reliever role. Only an airport in the Southern Tablelands that offered the full range of connecting international services would remove this threat.

At least the ALP has formally abandoned Badgery's Creek. The Howard government has yet to give a commitment to never building an international airport at Badgery's Creek. Badgery's Creek is not yet off the Liberal party's transport agenda.

Airports Given Away

While public infrastructure crumbles around us, and Medicare is stripped to its bones, the Federal Government gave away over $1,200 million. It did this by "selling" the Sydney Basin Airports - Bankstown, Hoxton Park, and Camden, for an amount that barely reaches the undeveloped land-only value of the smallest (Hoxton Park airport).
"It is one way of handling an embarrassing loss: Declare victory and hope no one notices"
-Phil Sheridan, on US baseball commissioner Bud Selig's declaration declaration that he "was pleased" that only 5-7% of players tested positive for steroids in the Mercury News 14th Nov 2003.

To hide the public's embarassing loss, and its cowardly desperation to enrich the private sector, the Government announced the sale on a Friday in the Christmas trading period (14th November 2003) - ensuring minimum opportunity for public scrutiny.

The private buyers, Bach, a consortium of property investors led by the Commonwealth Bank, with unspecified holdings by James Fielding Group and Toll holdings, paid a paltry $211 million for these lands - more than $1,200 million less than the value of the land (see below) and paying nothing for the value of businesses already established at Bankstown and Camden.

Why does the government give away $1.2 billion of public assets while Australia's health and education systems are crumbling apart ? The public is paying more and more for less and less public service, so that the Government's rich mates are looked after. Are there kick-backs expected ? Will we see retiring minister's joing the service of Bach Corporation ?

At best, general aviation is allowed to continue to enjoy playing fly-boys toys while public infrastructure is run down.

The Federal Opposition bickered about what the $211 million would be spent on, and lamely ignored the squandering of another $1,200 million in value. If their opposition had been any more effective - and prepared to set a higher bar - there'd have been six times as much to spend. There'd have been enough spoils to keep everyone happy.

Instead, there will only be spoils for retired politicians seeking employ in the companies of the successful bidders.

Of course, the private buyers, have almost no interest in general aviation and will waste little time in plundering its bargain priced assets.

News Ltd papers reported

James Fielding infrastructure director Alan O'Sullivan said the owners saw opportunities to
boost overnight parcels air freight out of Bankstown
and for small-scale regional passenger operations.

It was also looking at a mixture of commercial and light industrial development.

"There's a lot of land out there that is completely unutilised and which, on any conceivable scenario, is just not necessary for operating an airport," Mr O'Sullivan said.

Is Mr Sullivan callously referring to the kind of land into which a training aircraft ploughed on Tuesday 11th November ? Until the crash, this was an unutilised pile of dirt near the Boeing factory - quite a way from the runway. The crash killed the trainee and put the instructor in hospital with burns to 90% of his body.

Would it be better to have a more heavily populated industrial building on this site, so that a dozen or so people could have been killed by this crash ? See 5th May 2002 crash into nearby industrial area - which luckily occurred on a Sunday.

In an ironic twist, reports of the crash focussed on the 8 minute reaction time for local fire brigades to reach the airport perimeter. The on-site fire fighting services had been withdrawn nearly 10 years before. This is how public infrastructure is run-down, and, sadly, in this case, the pilot and instructor have paid the price.

If the airport can't afford effective fire-fighting services, can it really afford to be an airport ? How much industrial development will go on in and around the airport before we see this rectified ? Don't hold your breath - it won't happen until after the demonstrated cost of court proceedings exceed the cost of fire fighting.

A more intriguing question might be to ask what was the pile of dirt doing getting in the way of an aircraft executing a touch and go training exercise ? For safety reasons, land within airport perimeters' is kept generally quite flat - so as not to present undue risks to wayward aircraft. Trainee aircraft might be reasonably expected to be more wayward than average, and hence might need more space. Was this pile of dirt being made to allow property developments within the airport perimeter ? Over the last five years, airport managers have been busily piling up mounds of dirt on low-lying airport lands, with yet another non-aviation business then appearing atop the filled-in area. Has safety, and a trainee pilots life, been thrown out the window in pursuit of a property developers profit ?

The airport managers scant regard for anything but developers profit shows in their practice of flood plain filling. This will worsen flooding on upstream residential lands - it's like building a dam on the river. It would never be allowed if the airport had to go through normal local and state development approval processes.

Mr Sullivan's proposal for increasing overnight parcels services will treat locals equally callously. They could get regional services waking them at 5 am, and they could get more 2 am and 3 am flights waking them in the middle of the night. There is no curfew at Bankstown, and the smart logistics people at Toll can be expected to seize this opportunity. It is not a harmless general aviation daytime-operating airport any longer. It is now a profit opportunity for Bach, and a lost opportunity for South Western Sydney and taxpayers of the Nation.

BAL's 2003 annual report, released in Dec 2003 indicates that BAL has been building facilities in 2003 to expand night operations - with no environmental impact statement. The report states "...As part of our ongoing improvements, the Airport lighting system was upgraded to improve the circling guidance for aircraft night operations." You don't have to improve it unless you're expecting more aircraft to be circling the airport at night. Terrible news for local residents !

This site predicts that the general aviation community will regret the way it has meekly stood by while this sale process was driven through. General Aviation and training (like those who crashed on Nov 11th) is not a profitable urban land use, and will slowly get pushed aside - without having secured any appropriate alternate location.

Highway Robbery at Airport

Bankstown Airport Limited and the Federal Government planned to sell Bankstown, Hoxton Park and Camden Airports at a rate that is equal to highway or rather airport robbery. The process was designed to lock-in massive public subsidies, and block alternative sensible uses of Bankstown airport lands.

As reported in the Torch Newspaper, 17th Sep 2003 (see below), all three airports are to be sold in a package for about $150 million.

The three airports occupy 597 hectares of land (See Figure 1 below for map of the area), so the expected price values the land at a ridiculously low $25 per square meter - less than 6% of its true value.

The successful bidder will be allowed to sell Hoxton Park airport for residential development in 5 years time. But the price being mooted doesn't even match the value of the Hoxton Park land.

Liverpool Council estimates the developer's land acquisition cost as $220 per sq meter for land in the Hoxton Park area (at June 2003, see Developers Contribution). Hoxton airport occupies 87 hectares, and hence is worth at least $220 * 87 * 100 * 100 = $191 million - some $40 million dollars more than BAL estimate they will get for all 3 airports.

Current real estate listings for residential development sites in Hoxton Park are priced at $237 per sq m (serviced land varies between $560 and $740 per sq m). The site is most likely to be worth $206 million or $56 million more than BAL hopes to get.

If all they can get for the 3 airports is $150 million the public is being absolutely cheated - and getting a bit fat zero for Bankstown and Camden airports.

Bankstown Airport (314 hectares), being much closer to the city, is obviously worth quite a lot more than Hoxton Park (see Selling Bankstown for how much more).

As a lower bound to the airport's total value, the Hoxton Park value ($236/sq m) will underestimate the three airport's value. It gives a minimum value for Bankstown (314 ha) of $745m, and Camden (196 ha) will be at least $465m. So all three airports are worth over $1400 m.

A more realistic appraisal of the value of the airport land is to use the NSW Valuer General's valuation of the land in a nearby area. This would value Bankstown Airport at $1400 m, Camden at $140 m, and Hoxton at $190 m - giving a total of $1730 m.

In case you're worried about the development cost of the land, look at Hoxton park's serviced land values. They average around $630 per sq m (Sep 2003). Old homes are being bought around Bankstown airport and knocked down at prices that value the land similarly. The values used here are much lower, and provide a good gap that would easily fund redevelopment of the land.

So, all three airports are worth at least $1400 m to $1700 m (and possibly more). This is more than ten times what the government is expecting to get. This is clearly airport robbery...

"The global real estate and construction group Lend Lease is one of the short listed possible buyers of Bankstown Airport

The estimated $150 million deal includes Hoxton Park and Camden Airports and the purchase is expected to be finalised in late October or early December according to Bankstown Airport Limited's General Manager, Kim Ellis.

Mr Ellis confirmed reports that Lend Lease is one of the possible buyers, along with Toll Holdings consortium; a consortium involving the Commonwealth Bank and specialist property investment group James Fielding, which is headed by former Property Council of Australia president Greg Paramour; as well as property developer Citiwest with Melbourne developer David Mariner making up the rest of the short list of interested buyers"

-Torch Newspaper, Sep 17, 2003 (page 3)

Further evidence of the stupidity of public asset sale processes:

How to lose $93m on the Sydney land market

- By Gerard Ryle and Brian Robins, Sydney Morning Herald September 24, 2003

"The State Treasurer, Michael Egan, has referred the sale of a prime city block of government-owned land to the corruption watchdog after the Herald asked why it was sold for $93 million less than its official valuation eight years earlier.

The Government sold the land, now occupied by the five-star InterContinental Hotel, for $37 million in August 1999 to Lend Lease Project Finance.

The story goes on to report the land as valued at $130 million in 1991, at which time Egan accused the Liberal Government of stitching up a private deal with the owner of the hotel. The sale process was aborted as a result of Egan's expose, but it did not stop him proceeding with a deal in 1999 that was every bit as bad.

Egan offered the defense:

"Neither the Treasurer nor any of his staff had any direct involvement in the sale," Mr Egan said in a statement.

"The sale was conducted by public servants and their professional advisers using an open tender. The highest bid won."

This demonstrates the clear risk of secret auctions of public property. In view of this risk, and the involvement of Lend Lease in both this and the proposed airport sale, it's clear that the airport sale process should be halted immediately.

It's remarkable that none of the short listed bidders have any connection with aviation. They are all property developers.

If you were a general aviation enthusiast, you should see that your days are numbered once the airport is owned by property developers and managed as a property asset rather than an airport asset.

The property developers can see the extraordinary value of the deal with Hoxton Park. They can see they don't have to offer market rates because this government's ideology doesn't care about wasting public money. The government has allowed Sydney Airport Corporation Ltd to cherry-pick Sydney's aviation assets (at KSA - also at public-cheating prices), and now they want developers to quietly hide the burden of Bankstown's loss-making operation. The price for the developers' silence is over $1.3 billion.

As if that's not bad enough, the airport is robbing us of job opportunities. An industrial or commercial area the size of these airports would provide 33,000 direct full-time jobs - more than 10 times the airport manager's claim is provided by the airports now. As a subsidised employment scheme, airports are a huge waste of opportunity and the government could do better by using the airport land to provide subsidies to more profitable industries.

At a time when our Hospitals, Universities and Schools are being crippled for funds, the sale is an appalling misallocation of resources and waste of public money. We can't even fund essential like hospitals, so why are we putting money into airports ? The jobs we want and need are at our hospitals and schools, not Bankstown or any of the other airports.

While the extravagant wastage at Bankstown and Camden gives the property developers an excuse for not offering market rates, it doesn't mean they can't get better value out of the airport land. The successful bidder will have a wonderful opportunity to make a vast profit by forcing the aviation industry away to a cheaper rural location, and the public will have lost over $1.3 billion in value. The only way the public will get fair value and a fair outcome is for the present sale process to be halted immediately. A new option is needed o allow the airport land to be sold for residential, commercial and industrial development - with profits being used to remedy the deterioration that has been allowed in our hospitals and schools.

Conditions could be imposed on the airport redevelopment so that jobs as well as houses are provided - and it would be quite easy to ensure far more jobs were provided than the airport can ever offer (see here).

Bankstown is Prime Terrorist Target

Bankstown airport vulnerable, say counter-terrorism chiefs
By Alex Mitchell, Sun-Herald, State Political Reporter September 14, 2003

Australia's counter-terrorism high command has identified Bankstown Airport in western Sydney and regional airports in NSW as the "gaping holes" in the city's security fence.

They believe a light plane from a local airport is more likely to be turned into a suicide bomb than an international jet travelling from an overseas destination.

But the Federal Government has allocated no funds to build security fences around Bankstown or country airports, install security screening and video cameras or recruit guards.

Meeting last Friday, the second anniversary of the 2001 passenger jet terror attacks on New York and Washington, the executive committee of the National Counter-Terrorism Council reviewed airport security.

It follows two formal requests from the NSW Government for Bankstown, Australia's busiest general aviation airport, to be given the same top level of security as privately-owned Sydney Airport.

However, the Federal Government regards the cost of an upgrade for small airports as prohibitive, and the ongoing costs would break many cash-strapped airport operators.

If airport charges can not be raised to fund adequate security, where is the government's committment to user pays ? It is asking the community to subsidise the airport by accepting the terrorism risks.

It's all too easy for aviation interests to cry poor-mouth, and bludge more money off taxpayers - or leave it to taxpayers to fund the consequences of terrorism arising from any airport security breaches. That wouldn't be good enough at Sydney International Airport, and it should not be good enough at Bankstown.

Local residents have been alarmed at lax airport security for years. In June 2003, airport businesses were unresponsive to concerns at lax practices. It really is time for them to shape up or ship out.

If airport users can't afford adequate security, they should move-on to somewhere more appropriate - distant enough from the CBD to give air force planes time to intercept a highjacked plane.

Don't believe terrorism's a significant threat to Bankstown ? Well, consider this report from the Sydney Morning Herald,

Videos seized as man charged with planning violence
By Malcolm Brown and Les Kennedy
December 5, 2003

A young unemployed man faces a possible life sentence for planning a terrorist act after becoming the first person charged under the nation's new counter-terrorism laws.

Zak Mallah, 20, appeared briefly in Bankstown Local Court yesterday amid intense security after Federal Police and ASIO raided his Condell Park home just after midnight yesterday, allegedly seizing videotapes.

Mallah had been arrested earlier, at about 6pm, during a stake out by undercover officers in Wattawa Reserve, Condell Park. Police say he was armed.

Mr Mallah was literally arrested on the airport's doorstep. Observing and penetrating the airports lack of defences would be child's play for any putative terrorist. He was also in a good position to take pot-shots at overflying aircraft heading for KSA via Johnny Howards' punish the labor-voters flight paths.

By late December, counter terrorism chief's concerns regarding light aircraft attacks were shown to be spot-on:

Pilots planned to fly planes into British jet
report from the Sydney Morning Herald, December 28, 2003 - 11:18AM

Saudi Arabia has arrested two Islamic suicide pilots who were preparing to fly two light aircraft into a packed British Airways (BA) jet, a British Sunday newspaper said, quoting a senior opposition politician.

The suspected suicide pilots were arrested in the last few weeks after they were found red-handed with aircraft loaded with explosives near Saudi Arabia's main airport in the capital Riyadh, The Mail on Sunday said.

With the recent down-grading in Australia's airspace management rules, and two near-hits between 737's and light aircraft in a few weeks, the prospects for detecting and preventing a light aircraft attack in Sydney are dismal. Bankstown's lax approach to security is a forseeable and unforgiveable vulnerability.

Missile Threats

In early August 2003, PM John "scare-em-up" Howard encouraged airlines to fit their commercial aircraft with military anti-missile defence systems. This was a response to allegations that terrorists were planning attacks on civilian aircraft with shoulder rocket launchers and/or portable ground-to-air missiles. As the 29th Nov 2002 terrorist attack in Kenya showed, it's no idle threat.

When Howard suggested more strongly on 5th Sept 2003 that the airlines would have to fit missile decoy defences, and foot the bill for it, the airline's reaction was predictable and immediate.

Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon immediately cried poor-mouth, and attempted to foist the costs off onto taxpayers. Dixon claimed airlines couldn't afford the cost, and that the government should put defences around the airports.

Dixon claimed it would cost $692 m to fit out just their international aircraft ( see Courier Mail, 5th Sep 2003 PM, Qantas at odds on missile decoys ).

This would put an extra $80 on the cost of international fares, or $25 if spread across domestic and international passengers. British Airways estimated it would cost $740 million across 300 aircraft - or roughly $2 million per aircraft (see SBS report ANTI-MISSILE TECHNOLOGY FOR BA). Qantas have just 187 aircraft (2002 Annual Report), and on the basis of the BA estimate should be able to fit them out for $460 million. It would raise the ticket price by just $12 dollars - barely more than the Ansett levy.

But of course, why not try to leech it from taxpayers ? Dixon has deliberately exaggerated the cost - in the hope that the government will pick up the tab to install defences around airport. Dixon's suggestion is ludicrous - because it leaves aircraft open to attack anywhere else along their route (including at the overseas end !).

It is also typical of the unfairness of the airlines that they should expect the government to pick up a bill for $460 million or more, at a time when hospitals and education are suffering severe funding shortages. If there is no bed in hospital for your elderly or young family members, and no place at University, TAFE or high school, what comfort is it to know the money had been spent on making sure you could fly safely out of the country ?

Qantas' reluctance to spend $12 per passenger on improving safety also says tons about how little committment they have to passenger safety. Can you imagine how much less concern they could have for residents around airports ? They can't even look after their customers - and obviously have no time to consider public interests.

Government regulators should step in and mandate appropriate action by the airlines, and bill the airlines for the cost.

But instead, the lily-livered Howard government caved in to Qantas and agreed to supply air marshals on Qantas aircraft at taxpayer's expense. Worse, Qantas have the gall to charge the government for the business class seats the air marshals will occupy (SMH, 26/12/2003). Taxpayer's will shell out $5 million per year, just for coverage on flights to Singapore - and there's more of this to come as Qantas negotiates deals for other routes.

If you or I hold a party for our friends, we have to pay for the security guys. Qantas bludges from the taxpayer. Why doesn't user-pay apply to Qantas ? Why does the government allow them to profiteer from provision of security guards, instead of legislating to force Qantas to provide better physical security on their aircraft ?

Making people stand in line for hours while low paid and ill-trained inspectors paw through their luggage is hardly effective security. Relying on air marshals randomly assigned to a fraction of flights to be present, and then able to resist the temptation of nodding off in comfortable business class seats is no more effective.

If terrorism is a significant threat, it should be met by protection on every aircraft. This better security should be the two-door "flight deck security passage to be found on El Al , the Israeli national airline. If you do manage to penetrate the outside door into the cockpit, you will never have the opportunity to penetrate the inside door, since you will be dead. The system, once armed, is automatic and highly effective." (see The Airport Experience Bruce Tognazzini).

This would need to be coupled with a missile defence system, that could intercept both incoming missile threats, and a light-aircraft attack threat.

Deregulated Airport Profits

The dream of deregulated airports delivering bucketfulls of economic efficiency is fast evaporating. Speaking at the Australian National Aviation Press Club (6th Aug 2003), Giovanni Bisignani, CEO of the International Air Travel Associated (peak body representing 270 airlines carrying 98% of scheduled air traffic worldwide), highlighted the huge profits made by airports:
Recently Deutsch Bank compared airline operating margins to those of airports. Most airports showed 4 year average operating margins over 20%. Airlines were all under 10% and many were negative.

I am not saying that airports should make less profit.. we need healthy and profitable partners.

IATA also weighed into the debate over privatisation of Hong Kong's International (Chep Lap Kok) airport:

"Privatization is far too important to be viewed as a quick fix to the Government's current budgetary difficulties. Long-term vision is needed," said Bisignani.

"Privatization must not give a private monopoly a licence to print money at the expense of the greater Hong Kong economy. Economic regulation is required to maintain a balanced bargaining position for the airport's users and guarantee the airport's role as a catalyst for overall economic development. Airline involvement in the privatization process will be key to ensuring that all of Hong Kong benefits from an efficient privatized airport,"

Unfortunately, in almost every instance in Australia, privatisation has been a short sighted quick-fix for government budgetary problems.

IATA's remedy of involving airlines, however, does not provide long-term vision nor effective regulation. Airlines would be happy to make the 20% profit margins enjoyed recently by airports. Effective economic regulation requires transparency and input from the public at large, and this has not happened with Australia's airport deregulation. For Bankstown Airport's proposed privatisation there has been no public consultation, and no transparent involvement of the airline industry.

It should also be noted that the 20% airport operating margins cited by IATA are not being achieved at the General Aviation (GA) airports like Bankstown presently is. Elsewhere in the world, some of the extraordinary profits may have been contributing to the cost of GA airports but such is not the case now in Australia. The taxpayer alone picks up the costs of dismal economics at Australian GA airports, while the private buyers of the major domestic and international airport take home their lovely profits.

Sydney Airport Master Plan and Very Large Aircraft

On 1st August 2003,Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) released the Sydney Airport Preliminary Draft Master Plan for public comment.

The plan proposes that no second airport is necessary, on the basis that KSA will expand from today's 22 million passenger movements per annum to handle 68.3 mpm in 2024. It uses IATA forecasts that passenger numbers will grow at 4.2% but that use of larger aircraft will require only a 2.4% growth rate for aircraft movements.

Approval of the plan by the Minister for Transport was announced on 8th April 2004 ( The Australian). At the same time, Sydney Airports announced it would call tenders for " a $100 million upgrade of existing infrastructure facilities to ensure the new A380 can touch down at Sydney Airport". There was no mention of the EIS required by the Airports Act (section 89) for works that "extends taxiways" and/or any "development that is likely to have significant environmental or ecological impact;"

Will larger aircraft solve all the problems ? Significantly, no airport presently operates 68.3 million passengers on a 3 runway configuration like KSA - and nobody plans to either. Bigger aircraft don't just automatically increase airport passenger throughput because larger aircraft require greater separation on approach and departure to avoid dangers from wake vortexes.

Wake vortex's are the small tornado's that form on the outermost end of the wing where wind rushing over the top spills and collides with the wind being pushed below the wing to support the aircraft weight. The strength of these vortices increases with aircraft weight and can lift tiles of houses below landing and take off approaches.
Wake Vortex, Light Plane
Wake vortex created by a light agricultural plane - part of a NASA study. See NASA Wake Vortex Study at Wallops Island

Wake Vortex's can last for several minutes and stretch for many kilometers behind an aircraft. When a following aircraft encounters such disturbed airflow, the plane can accelerate uncontrollably, flip over and crash.

The Boeing 747-400 has winglets (the vertical sail at the end of the wing) to control its vortexes. Although the wing geometry and aircraft speeds are the same on the earlier 747 models (200 etc.,.), the heavier weight of the 747-400 increases vortex's and requires control with winglets.

There are also issues with maneouvering and docking large aircraft once they are on the ground, (see the concerns well put by pilots at California Aviation).
Comparison of A380 with 747-400
Comparing A380 and 747-400

Comparison of A380-800 with 747-400.

Outline of A380-800 (red) has been superimposed on scale drawing of 747-400 (yellow filled). All labelled dimensions are for the 747-400. The future A380-900 stretched version will be 4.7 m longer, same wing-span and area.

The Airbus A380, not due to fly until 2006, is touted as an example of the new very large aircraft. But the A380-800 takes only 32% more passengers than the 747-400 that previous airport planning was based on.

Do the math. You can't triple your airport's capacity with aircraft that are only 32% bigger. But with 42% more weight to lift, 66% more wing area, and 12% more thrust, the A380 will certainly stir up some tornados below it as it takes off and lands. It has to be doubted that improvements in wing vortex control will match the increase in size of this aircraft (the winglets on the 747-400 are provided to reduce wing vortex, and the A380 doesn't seem to have anything new in this regard).

As of mid August 2003, getting a taxi from KSA at evening peak (circa 5:30 pm) can add a 45 minute wait to your travel time - can you imagine what it will be like with the proposed tripling of the passenger numbers ? Tripling passenger numbers will require tripling of the roads and railways into the airport. Can you imagine a triple-decker M5 motorway ? It is ludicrous.

SACL are planning that break-through research will allow new Very Large Aircraft like the Airbus A380 Superjumbo or later A3XX-100 models to need no greater separation than todays' aircraft. This aircraft, rather like a double-decker 747 (or A340), hasn't even flown yet. Wake vortex basically increases in proportion to aircraft weight, and the speculation that research will find ways to mitigate it on new aircraft has to be doubted and will do nothing for the existing fleet that will remain in service over the next 20 years (there are many 30 year old 747's still flying out there !).

SACL is conveniently siding with those who believe

"the answer lies in fewer, bigger planes like the Airbus A3XX-100 a 540- to 960-seat double-deck super jumbo that will fit within the 80m per-plane square required by airport infrastructure. But precisely the same thing was said of the original jumbo and look what happened."

- Dr Peter Fisher, CSIRO Sustainability Network Update 2E, March 2003.

(Dr Fisher's 20-page report is a very thorough review of airport environmental issues, and would be very useful if you are researching a school or uni project)

Airports had to be expanded to cope with 747's in spite of designers plans. KSA's main runway had to be extended into Botany Bay to cater for 747 traffic. Where will they go when the A3XX's fail to deliver on the promises ? Airbus still hasn't got the 540 seat A380-800 into the air, so SACL's talk of the 900 seat version is purely deceitful speculation. Airbus Industrie's full development plan for the A380 is only aimed at a 656 seat A380-900, a streched (lengthwise) version of the A380-800; it has only 56% more seats than the 747-400.

On Dec 9th, 2003, the operator of Frankfurt Airport admitted that the A380 would increase noise, and will not be quieter than the 747s (see

All the references to making the A380 quieter are talking about improving the aerodynamics of the wing so that less wake vortex occurs. But puttering around on the ground at < 120 km/hr is unlikely to benefit from any such improvement; and when you've probably got to push 50% more tons around than a 747 (around 550 to 580 tons cf 400 tons MTOW for 747-400), the engines will get revved up more to get moving at taxiing speed. Oh, yeah, and think about the extra tons of fuel and pollutants this will pump out.

Next think about how it performs at maximum thrust down the runway and for the initial climb-out from the airport. Wake-vortex's improvements won't make much difference to the extra noise needed to thrust 50% more weight into the air. There is going to be heaps more pollution and noise generated.

Airbus proponents will argue the engines are more efficient. Airbus claim that it is 13% more efficient on a fuel use per passenger seat. This figure is based on averaging out things over a long high-altitude cruise period where the engines are throttled back and the higher engine efficiency is likely to kick-in. Even if it applied at maximum thrust, there's still a big deficit between the claimed 13% efficiency and the 50% extra weight that has to be moved. If you replaced every 747 with an A380, you'll end up with vastly more pollution (at least 37% = 50% - 13%).

Even when descending to land, the big A380 has 50% more weight to control. And 66% more wing area generating tornado's in the wake. Controlling descent on landing is achieved by adjusting the aircraft trim, and using occassional thrust corrections (particularly if flying dirty) both of which require energy that comes from the aircraft engines and/or auxiliary turbines. The A380 will use lots more fuel to control its higher weight and wing area.

If KSA is expanded by replacing 747's with A380's, and upscaling the feeder services (737's become 767's, 767's become 747s etc.,.) the threat to nearby residents is huge. These larger feeder aircraft will bring with them much greater noise and pollution and wake vortices.

It seems it's not going to be nice for anyone living within (say) 10 km's of KSA.

After aircraft are docked, the logistics of moving vast numbers of passengers out of the airport precincts have to be addressed.

The independence and motives of SACL have to be seriously questioned. As holder of monopoly rights for Sydney Airport, SACL stands to profit handsomely from failing to make adequate airport capacity plans (simply raising charges by up to $318 per trip to reduce demand - see the estimated Consumer Surplus of $318 ). They can not be expected to advocate a second airport.

Its amazing how easily little John Howard and his mate Max The Axe are getting away with protecting their airport monopoly ! Short-sighted Johnny Howard would not support Very Fast Trains, because they were too new (not proven enough!). Yet

Sydney would probably never need a second airport, the Prime Minister said yesterday, sparking accusations he was doing the bidding of his former adviser, who now heads the Sydney Airport Corporation...

Mr Howard said technological changes and larger aircraft would probably mean the city could survive with Sydney Airport alone.

"There's a very strong probability, in my opinion, that Sydney will never need a second airport," he told Channel Nine. "All the advice coming to the Government is that the current airport can handle the traffic out to about 2020."

- as reported by BRW's Geesche Jacobsen August 11, 2003, "PM: new airport not on"


Why does Howard buy these far-sighted prospects that planes that haven't even flown yet will meet Sydney's future transport needs ? At least MagLev and other fast trains actually run already in other parts of the world, and they produce less than one tenth the greenhouse gas of jet aircraft. The A380 hasn't made it out the factory door yet - let alone proven its capabilities with regard to wake vortex and handling on the ground. Why can technological change be anticipated when planning airports, but not embraced when planning alternative transport solutions ?

Its very clear that Mr Howard can not separate the interests of Sydney residents from the economic interests of his mates at SACL. Does he expect an even grander reward than that won by Max Moore-Wilton who retired as head of Howard's PM department to become CEO at Sydney Airport ?

Perversely, Howard's ploy might produce the right environmental results for the wrong reason. Less airport capacity will mean fewer aircraft in the skies over Sydney. That's an excellent result, but the risk is that Howard is really planning to expand Bankstown airport to fill the gap. That would be a disastrous outcome.

The government needs to wake up to the unsustainability of airports and never-ending airport expansion. Caps should be placed on KSA to prevent abuse of the inner-city communities and force airlines to demand manage. Restrictions should be placed on Bankstown Airport development to prevent its expansion to an unacceptable regional or larger airport role.

Or better still they should be freed from the restricted airport-only use and allowed to be sold on the open market for the most appropriate efficient economic use.

Labor Abandons Badgery's Creek

July 27th, 2003: Federal Opposition Leader Simon Crean announced a new ALP policy that abandoned Labor support for a second airport at Badgery's Creek, opposed the sale of the remaining Sydney Airports, and opposed operation of large jets at Bankstown.

Pilot Briefing

The new policy created a furore amongst inner city ALP members, who complained of lack of consultation. The policy provides no position on the site for an alternative airport, and hence naturally worries those affected by the existing airport sites.

It is also vague about the definition of large jets. Is a BAe 146 a large jet ? What about a 737 ? Maybe it only means 767's and 747's ?

This policy change hasn't really changed much - as the Federal government had effectively abandoned the Badgery's Creek option in December 2000. Opposition to the sale of the remaining airports is really a case of too little too late, and will do nothing to prevent the sale. And lastly, any policy that fails to provide criteria for an alternative site is vacuous.

In effect, Crean and Ferguson have decided that Sydney's future airport growth should be at Mascot: on merits, the least suitable site. As in 1989, Labor's leaders have sold out the welfare of people in safe Labor seats around Sydney Airport to help them win (or hold on to) marginal seats further west. Better to harm a million voters who can't hurt you than 100,000 who can...

Why did this mess develop? Because each time the decision has come before cabinet, it has chosen a false economy. Governments have opted for the cheapest short-term solution and redeveloped Mascot rather than choosing the best long-term solution. And with each deferral, building Badgerys Creek has become harder, until both sides see it as politically impossible. This is no way to plan our infrastructure. Governments need to think long term, and act long term.
- Tim Colebatch, Economics Editor of The Age, "Let's Ditch the Fly-By-Night Policy", 29th July 2003.

The people in the very safe electorates around Bankstown airport can take little comfort from a party that abandons its faithful supporters so readily. Until an alternate airport site is developed, and vague notions like large jets resolved, Bankstown has plenty to be concerned about.

If you don't feel sympathetic with Bankstown and Sydney Airport affected communities, think about how you would react if the government turned your quiet suburban 2-lane street into a 6-lane motorway. Worse has happened at Sydney Airport where a dirt-track 1930's airfield with it's aircraft smaller than a modern-day 4WD off-roader, has now become a massively larger 3 runway monster with aircraft the length of football fields.

Sale Plan

April 9th, 2003: Australia's Minister for Finance, Nick Minchin, and the Minister for Regional Services Wilson Tuckey issued this joint statement:

The Commonwealth Government today announced the strategy for the sale of Bankstown, Camden and Hoxton Park Airports, known as the Sydney Basin Airports.

The Government announced its decision to sell the airports by way of a 100% trade sale in March 2001.

No changes to the operation of Bankstown or Camden airports are required or are being proposed as part of the sale, and therefore the sale is not expected to impact on the local communities.

"Changes to the aviation environment since 11 September 2001, the collapse of Ansett and the trend to using larger aircraft, particularly on regional routes, means there is no longer a need for Bankstown Airport to develop an overflow capacity to supplement Sydney Airport," Mr Tuckey said.

"The sale will go ahead without development obligations on any of the three airports."

Senator Minchin said that in line with Government policy on asset sales, the proceeds of the sale would be used to reduce Commonwealth net debt.

"This is the last in a series of successful airport sales which, to date, have generated approximately $8.3 billion in net sale proceeds and led to significant investment and improved facilities at Australia's airports," Senator Minchin said.

"The sale will be managed by the Department of Finance and Administration in consultation with the Department of Transport and Regional Services and other relevant agencies.

"A range of specialist advisers including Caliburn Partnership, Australian Government Solicitor and Gavin Anderson & Company will assist in the implementation of the sale."

Key components of the strategy include:

  • The Government's preference for all three airports to be packaged together for sale as a group;
  • Consistent with previous airport sales, the Commonwealth's shareholdings in Bankstown Airport Limited and Camden Airport Limited will be sold with their existing lease terms which have about 45 years to run with an option to renew for a further 49 years;
  • Hoxton Park Airport Limited will be sold with a shortened airport lease of five years with the land then converting to freehold title. (The five year airport lease can be extended a further two years upon agreement between the Commonwealth and the new owner);
  • No specific development obligations will be imposed on the new airport owner to upgrade Bankstown Airport;
  • No specific development obligations will be required at Camden Airport or Hoxton Park Airport.

"At the end of the shortened lease for Hoxton Park, freehold title will transfer to the owner of the lease and it will be up to the new owner to determine the best use for the site, consistent with relevant state and local government planning laws," Mr Tuckey said.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of September 2003.

Carefully note this press release ignores the outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada in March 2003 - which subsequently reduced passenger traffic at Sydney Airport by 15%. Airports have become even less necessary than ever.

It's good news that the new owner of Bankstown is not required to develop it as an overflow airport. But that doesn't prove it's out of the government's mind. And it's quite bad news that a 45 year lease for Bankstown is to be locked-in by a private company contract.

Slightly better news is the small breath of sanity in the proposal to convert Hoxton Park airport to freehold title after a five-year lease.

Why not convert all airport lands to freehold title, right now, and let market forces determine their best use ?

For too long now, wealthy airport users have not paid the true cost of their inefficient land use and have been cross-subsidised by the community in both monetary terms and in terms of the environment damage they bring. It's time to get them off the public teat.

Don't be reassured by the Minister's rhetoric that the community should not be concerned by the sale because no change in operation is proposed. This is a thoroughly misleading carelessness with the truth: the proposed closure of Hoxton Park would significantly increase traffic at Bankstown (as the Schofields airport closure did).

Further, nothing about the sale will prevent the new owner from developing a radically different plan of operation. And, in fact, the sale documents will remain a government secret making it impossible for the community to see through this government's corrupt sale-at-any-price agenda. IATA's Aug 6th 2003 concerns with inefficient private monopoly airports is well-founded

RPT will Close Circuit Training

Aviation enthusiasts claim that a private airline is developing a plan for operating regular RPT's out of Bankstown (maybe Bankstown to Canberra), possibly using BAE-146's (the aircraft with nauseating exhaust leaks into the cabin). bae146The catch is that these would require radar separation, and would track into Bankstown causing wake turbulence that would play merry hell with circuit training. But circuit training and private aircraft generate almost no revenue, and the airport private owner will waste no time moving them on to cheaper pasture. Bankstown real-estate is too valuable to waste on Not-for-profit business, as the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society found when looking for a home for Connie and their other restored aircraft. Circuit training will have to move aside for more profitable business.

Perversely, while civilized places like Hong Kong have moved airfields out of their densely populated areas (from Kowloon to Chep La KOK, 45 km out of town), so that RPT's don't fly down looking into people's lounge rooms, Bankstown managers are doing the opposite and proposing to bring RPT's into densely populated areas - flying down next to Bankstown Hospital and looking into the homes on Black Charlie's Hill.

Logically, for the same profit-motivated reasons circuit training has to move out, all forms of aircraft operation at Bankstown should also move aside for a far more profitable use as redeveloped real-estate.

A 737 Every 5 Minutes for Bankstown

In January 2003, AirServices Australia produced a report "THE OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY OF BANKSTOWN AIRPORT TO HANDLE REGULAR PUBLIC TRANSPORT (RPT) SERVICES" which considered the capacity of Bankstown Airport to handle aircraft up to the size of the 56 tonne 737-300. On the basis of current technological limits, it advised that up to 12 movements per hour could be supported. That's one 737 every 5 minutes.

The limit arose from CASA advice that straight-in approaches are required for safety reasons. Technological improvements such as the ability to use curved approaches may increase the limit vastly in the next few years.

Fig 4 from Airservices Report If you live in Kurnell, Cronulla, Como, Blakehurst, Oatley, Riverwood, Punchbowl, Chullora and Strathfield, or in areas to the airport's west, like Chipping Norton, Casula, and Liverpool, you should take a look at the prospective flight paths in this report. You could cop huge increases in aircraft noise - on top of whatever share KSA already brings you.

The New Terrorist Danger

MOMBASA, Friday, November 29th, 2002: Suicide bombers blew up a hotel full of Israelis in Kenya overnight, killing 14 people, minutes after missiles narrowly missed an Israeli airliner taking off nearby, in an apparently synchronised attack. Israeli and Kenyan officials swiftly blamed the al Qaeda network

BALI, Saturday, October 12th, 2002: A car bomb which exploded outside the Sari Club ( preceded by an explosion in Paddy's Bar) killed at least 82 Australians, from a confirmed death toll of 180 which included dozens of tourists from Britain, Europe and the US. Indonesian police later arrested suspects who've admitted links to the Jemaah Islamiah and Al Qaeda Islamic terrorist organisations

All of a sudden international tourism doesn't look such a flash idea (and we haven't mentioned SARS which slashed international travel by 15% overall and 45% to Asia in Feb to Jun 2003). The Kenyan missile attack shows the clear risk presented to the public by airports.

open gateWith the threat of terrorist attacks, all airports should be as far away from highrise buildings as possible and out of cities altogether. This will increase the safety to the community. Bankstown airport, set in the heartland of Sydney's muslim population, would be a terrorist's dream - if they wanted to attack Sydney's highrise buildings, nuclear reactors, or other international and domestic aircraft or the city's infrastructure. How can PM Howard claim to protect the Australian people when he supports actions which could increase the danger to Australians ? Major airports out of large city areas would place Australians less at risk.

Airport security at Bankstown Airport is a complete joke. It's perimeter adjoins many residential and commercial properties, and would be virtually indefensible against terrorist penetration. If there ever was a time when operating airports within metropolitan residential areas was acceptable, it is now long gone. Immediately after Sep 11th, then after the Bali Bombing and now even in June 2003, residents have found lax security at the airport.

As reported in the Torch Newspaper's front page article 11th June, 2003, (see left) security gates are routinely left open at Bankstown and hijacking a plane would be child's play. One company responsible for this was unrepentant about it - claiming it would deter customers if they had to unlock and lock the gate after every customer. Guess which guys will have to take themselves elsewhere when the private operator does his sums with the RPT operators ?

Aviation's Environmental Impact

The aviation industry consistently denies that aircraft have significant environmental impact - particularly away from airports. Thanks to the September 11th bombing of the WTC, there is now clear evidence to the contrary. After the WTC collapse, all aircraft across the USA were grounded for 3 days.

vapour trails
Vapour Trails over the North York Moors (UK)
© Dave Lawrence Photography The nitrogen dioxide making those seemingly pretty jet trails high in the atmosphere are compounding the greenhouse effect by trapping infra-red radiation

Australian environmental researchers Michael L Roderick and Prof Graham Farqauhar studied data from this period and found the suddenly clear skies provided an explanation for why evaporation from backyard pools dams (and pans) had declined over the last 50 years in spite of global warming. The study outcomes were reported in Science journal ("The Cause of Decreased Pan Evaporation over the Past 50 Years", Michael L. Roderick and Graham D. Farquhar, Science 2002 November 15; 298: 1410-1411.)

With something like 10,000 aircraft no longer in the sky, Roderick found that the skies were measurably clearer. High-flying jets had long been suspected of affecting climate because their contrails, or water vapour exhaust trails, can turn into cirrus-like clouds, which can act as insulators, reflecting the heat of the sun, as well as trapping heat below.

A US team confirmed this effect earlier this year. During the three days of clear skies in September the difference between the average day-time maximum temperature and night-time minimum across the US was more than one degree greater than when contrails were present.

For more on aviation's environmental impact, see the UK Government Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) report “The Environmental Effects of Civil Aircraft in Flight”, which essentially damns its Government’s aviation growth policies while drawing attention to the sector’s major environmental impacts.

Selling Bankstown Airport

June 10th, 2002:The Sydney Morning Herald reported the progress of Bankstown Airport sale claiming "the Government is soon to launch a study on the best way to sell the asset, which will also canvass the likely sale price".

The Herald estimated the government would be lucky to get $100 million for Bankstown. A Herald article on 10th June 2003 again repeated this $100 million optimistic estimate. Coolangatta Airport, on Queensland's Gold Coast and a premier tourist destination with a large number of regular large domestic passenger jet services (737's etc.,.) fetched less than $100 million when sold. Even if Bankstown matched this, that would value the airport land (314 ha, as per the FAC Annual Report 1997) at approximately $32 per square meter.

There are alternate uses that would value it more highly than this. The best possible evidence for this is the simple fact that the Airports Act has to prevent the airports use for alternate purposes. No such regulation would be needed if the income and jobs provided by an airport matched the normal expectations for industrial or commercial land. The airport would simply compete for land like any other business or residential user.

This can be backed up by quantitative analysis: for 2002, the NSW Valuer General's Land Valuations conservative valuation of residential land in Bankstown was over THIRTEEN times the SMH estimate of the airport value - $417 per square meter (or $288,000 for the average residential block - a quite conservative estimate, land near the airport is selling for much more than this). Even as a small industrial site, the value would exceed $246 per square meter, and as large industrial it would exceed $165 per square meter. Either of these last two options would produce far more jobs than the airport (at least 5 times as many).

So here is a marvellous profit opportunity for a real-estate developer: buy the airport, stir up the locals, and convince the government it should be closed down. You could ship-out the flying schools and unprofitable operators while pretending to need the airspace for valuable RPT services. After a few years, you could let the RPT service go belly-up and claim the airport is now no use. It might take you a few years to achieve, but with a few hundred million to gain - it could be worth the wait. Could even be worth staging an accident or two with well-insured aircraft just to hurry the process along. There could even be change left over to fund a fake RPT service to displace the unprofitable GA businesses.Which one of the government's mates is in on the plan ?

If you don't think the government would be so stupid as to sell the airport cheaply, take a look at the Auditor General's report on the IT out-sourcing and sale of government buildings in Canberra (search for Audit Report No.4 2001/2002 Commonwealth Estate Property Sales, August 2001). This government is committed to sales even if it results in greater costs to the community. The Finance department which conducts the sales simply reports "that it was not charged with the role of protecting the overall interest of the Commonwealth". So they can proceed with the sales on quite uneconomic terms, and without evaluation of alternative options.

The Auditor General found there had not been a proper inquiry making comparisons of costs and benefits of alternative options, as required under Financial Management and Accountability Regulations (FMA Regs) and the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines (Guidelines). He also found that the sale and leaseback arrangements produced a negative return (NPV) within the terms of the leaseback periods, and that rents were substantially (12%, 17% and 38%) above market valuations.

As grubby an opportunity for corruption as could ever be hoped for by a greedy politician or bureaucrat ! It is little surprise that the Auditor General was not happy with the spending on consultants used in the sale processes. Not that this adverse reports are any concern or impediment to the present governmnet.

Lest you wonder about the enormous economic benefit of the airport, Bankstown Airport Limited's 2002 Annual Report indicates that its aeronautical revenue was just 9% of its total, and it made a meagre EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Tax) of $4.2 million (or $2.8 m after tax). Some 87% of its revenue was from property (2001 Annual report was very similar, although EBIT has improved from $2.6 m). This company is in the property business, and the best use of its substantial property assets is not as any kind of airport. Based on the airport's earnings, you'd be a very wreckless investor to bid $100 million for it (implying you are happy with a return of barely 3 or 4% on your money).

As verification of the June 2002 Herald report, BAL's 2001 annual report indicated that a sale of the airport was planned for the second half of 2002, and it also bragged about reducing the value of the contract with the Airport Environment Officer. Can't have him finding too much that might inhibit the sale process or impact on prices.

Well over a year later, it's still not sold. There's clearly not much interest from buyers. Maybe it's worth nothing as an airport, and it will be sold at ridiculously low prices to prop up the aviation sector.

The Government wants to deregulate everything about the airport, except it's privileged position to waste economic resources (land etc.,.) - just to fatten up (subsidise) airline profits.

Affordable Unsubsidised Airport Location

There is a more sensible economic option. In contrast to the value expected to be gained from Bankstown, semi-rural land at Cecil Park (some 8 km closer to town than Badgery's creek site) is worth less than $29 per square meter (VG 2001 & 2002). The 1700 ha Badgery's Creek site was acquired for $150 m in 1986 and 1991, and valued at $255 million in 1997 (according to EIS). Even allowing 3% inflation, that's less than $17 per square meter. It is way, way, less than the expected valuation at Bankstown. Sites OUTSIDE the Sydney basin would come in even cheaper. Doesn't this tell you heaps about where the airport ought to be, if it's going to pay its way ?

BEAR challenges the Federal Government and aviators to show some courage in its conviction with the free-enterprise forces of competition economic model it embraces religiously in most policy areas. Abide by the Financial Management and Accountability Regulations and offer the market alternative options in the sale process.

Let there be a completly free auction for Bankstown Airport's lands, with no cross-subsidies or special favours for parties interested in preserving the airports subsidised and privileged status. Deregulate it and free it from the encumbrances and protection of the airports acts. If you can't be so brave, perhaps leave just one condition - that a successful bidder have a plan that provides at least as many jobs as the airport. Let the aviation industry bid for its land like any other investor, as the economist's belief in allocative efficiency demands. And in the interests of honest and transparent bidding, let's have an open bid second-price (Vickrey) auction.

For comparative purposes, KSA covers 881 acres. Using a conservative estimate from the nearest suburb in the Valuer General's list, year 2001 land values in airport polluted Marrickville, KSA is worth 881 ha * 100 * 100 (sq m/ha) * $622 per sq m = $5.4 billion as residential land. Any real estate developer worth his salt would get quite a premium on this once the airport is gone (bayside properties, could fetch double the Marrickville rate). It should well and truly account for the cost of building residential infrastructure, and deducting space for roads, parks etc.,. As small industrial land, KSA would fetch over $3.5 billion, and become home to 48,000 direct jobs (way more than the airport).

KSA Sold Cheaply

On 25th June 2002, Minister for Finance Nick Minchin announced that KSA had been sold for $5.6 billion in a trade sale (meaning a first-price sealed-bid competitive tender). That values the land at only $636 per square meter, if you assume everything else on it is worthless. It does not account for nearly $2 billion in infrastructure spent prior to the Olympics (see Sydney's Airport media release Olympic Airport Infrastructure ), nor any of the pre-existing infrastructure (KSA's assets were valued at a further $2.9 billion by ACCC in 1999). Reports that the second-bidder offered $500 million less only prove that competitive sealed-bid auctions of public assets are a stupid way to get less than true value for them.

See Bob Mark's Australian Graduate School of Management lecture on Strategic Game TheoryTenders, Auctions and Bidding in Competition or search for "Auction Theory" if you want to understand the flaws in such auctions, and why second-price auctions would deliver better value

ksa saleThe sale has fleeced taxpayers and jobseekers big time. Clearly, if the government tooks its hands off the levers and let a competitive market decide the best use of land, KSA would be gone in no time.

Unfortunately, it seems that the successful bidder, Southern Cross consortium (SC), has now first right of refusal on construction of a Second Airport. SC might even have veto rights to prevent a competitor entering the market. SC has been reported as stating this right won't be exercised before 2020. Why build another one if you can extract extortionate fees from a KSA monopoly ? Massive subsidies and monopoly profits have been locked in for decades

Don't hold your breath waiting for SC to demolish the airport ! Macquarie Bank, a member of the SC consortium, was reported as having earned a cool $50 million in fees for negotiating the deal (SMH, Saturday 29th June). Not surprisingly, there was a strong reaction over these extraordinary fees. Macquarie attempted to defend them by pointing out (SMH 6/7/02) that their team of between 20 to 40 people worked over two years on the deal. Even if you suppose it averaged out at 50 man years work, that's a million dollars per man-year. This led analyst's (David Koch, Sunday Sunrise 7/7/02) to point out how exhorbitant Macquarie's management fees were for other infrastructure assets; as an example the Westfield trust (managers of shopping malls) handled assets of nearly triple the value of Macquarie's, but for fees that were less then two-thirds of Macquarie's. Macquarie Bank's 2001 Annual report indicated that employee expenses were $816 m for its 1,965 employees - an average of $415,000 per employee, or roughly enough to pay 4 public servants or average wage-earners to sip tea while the fifth one of them does the work.While economist eulogize about the invisible hand of the market, sharemarket punters may need to be wary about sleight-of-hand, and remuneration packages that are clearly excessive.

SC may plan to take advantage of taxation dodges applying to infrastructure that will see them gear up their investment with monstrous debt levels. This will ensure they never appear to make a profit nor pay any tax. Such appearances will help them cry poor-mouth whenever they seek to raise prices at the airport or excuse environmental pillaging, as most members of the public won't see through it. Behind the scenes, the banks on the receiving end of the debt interest payments and exorbitant management fees will do nicely, and to the extent that a major SC partner is a foreign investor, may escape any contribution to Australian taxes. Not too many domestic real-estate developers have that opportunity.

Flying Under the Radar

Of course, whatever the sale plans are for Bankstown, don't expect them to be announced to the public, as the decision on KSA's new Parallel Runway (PRM) radar shows. On 15th May, 2002, hiding behind the Budget news, the Federal Government issued a news release indicating it had now approved full implementation of the PRM radar system at Kingsford Smith Airport.

This was just the lastest show of contempt for the public and Sydney's environment in the sorry saga of developing a responsible plan for Sydney's aviation needs. It's another step in deciding to wrecklessly expand Sydney's urban airports and ignore the danger to Sydney's residents.

Maximising Bankstown Crash Dangers

To highlight the airport dangers, around 3:25 pm on Sunday 5th May 2002, a family of four died instantly when their light Piper Cherokee Warrior PA28-161 aircraft collided with a Socata Tobago TB10 trainer aircraft on the approach to Bankstown Airport (see ATSB preliminary report for Occurrence 200201846).

More details of the collision, earlier near misses, and their implications are discussed here

BAL will do nothing to stop a repetition, and everything it can to increase traffic volumes and aircraft sizes to maximise the danger to nearby residents and workers. New era small GA jets like the Eclipse 500, with crusing speeds of 658 km/hr, could pose even graver crash dangers to Bankstown residents in coming years.

Maximising Airport Profit

Bankstown Airport Limited's mission statement ( May 2002) states its objective as "being enhancement of the value of the airport assets prior to privatisation" . It seeks to"develop the excess capacity at Bankstown Airport in the areas of freight and Regular Passenger Traffic (RPT), within the regulatory and policy framework" and is committed to "uninterrupted operations at the airport".

RPT means noisy big jets, and development of excess capacity and uninterrupted operations means 24 hours x 7 days per week (there is no curfew at Bankstown Airport). Within the regulatory and policy framework means very little restriction unless you and thousands of your friends get active about it.

"Governments have almost zero foresight and an almost infinite capacity for stupidity, violence and destruction. Not quite, but almost infinite capacity. The not-quite is when people get mad enough to stand in the way." - Leslie Parrish-Bach

While the best value of the Bankstown Airport assets is likely to be to achieved by converting the whole airport to residential or industrial use , don't expect the newfound belief in profit motivation, deregulation and aggressive competition in the property market to lead the dolts running this show to such a sensible outcome (see Bankstown Job Myths for details of how to create jobs best with airport land).

September 11th Economic Effects

Over at Sydney Airport, KSA, the manager Tony Stuart reported the effects of September 11th, and Ansett collapse. "In September aircraft movements fell 31 per cent below budgeted levels, with the regional and domestic business nosediving. Sydney Airport's landed tonnage register fell 22 per cent beneath budget forecasts." Mr Stuart lamented that his business faced fixed costs, unlike Airlines whose major costs are variable and have been wound-back to cope with the downturn.

"From a pure economic point of view, it would be nice to close a runway down for afternoons or evenings," Stuart said. "But we don't have that ability under our public aerodrome obligations and the fact our costs are sunk... you can't dig up the concrete a year later" (Sydney Morning Herald, November 26, 2001).

Please, Mr Stuart, think outside the square or at least think competitively. Challenge the stupid regulatory aerodrome obligations if they waste taxpayers money and threaten public environmental obligations.

Don't let us stop you ripping up the concrete at KSA or Bankstown. These public aerodrome regulations are an anachronism that don't belong in a progressive reformed economy, and clearly interfere with allocative efficiency.

At the very least, please don't try our patience with puerile pleas for sympathy - it's your decison creating the pathetic waste of taxpayers funds if you choose to keep the runways open while Qantas and friends trim their operations and wallow in record profits.

You are forcing taxpayers to subsidise these fat cats, and hob-knobbing with the Qantas bosses at swank restaurants is not a good look. Unless socialising losses whilst privatising profits is the objective of your economic reform, you've brought no credit to your management nor the Government directing it.

Fortunately for Tony, the Federal Government's favorite fat cat Max Moore-Wilton (head of PM's department), a man with a long history of association with companies profiting from privatisation projects, decided to quit his government job in order relieve Tony of his airport encumbrances and took over his job in Dec 2002. Of course, you are supposed to believe he hadn't set the job up for himself when vigorously advocating privatisation in his government role. But don't feel sorry for Tony - he'll be happy not to be burdened by the airport's over-capacity.

Stuart landed on his feet as CEO of the NRMA (July 22, 2003). His advanced outsourcing and salesmanship skills will no doubt be put to good use in destroying what's left of that formerly wonderful motorist cooperative.

Eco-Tourism or Eco-Vandalism

Tourism Australia has been the major proponent of airport growth. Tourism's latest fads is eco-tourism: you jump on a jet and travel to somewhere away where the air is still breathable and commune with nature. Or, maybe if you've got professional green credentials, you jump on a jet to Kyoto, the Hague etc.,. to attend an international conference on greenhouse gas emissions.

So you recycle your newspapers and carrier bags, take buses and trains wherever possible and harangue the authorities to switch to wind power. You're green, you care about the environment... and you are furious that we're melting the planet while George Bush thinks that Kyoto should stick to being a tourist destination.

And then you blow it all by jumping on that cheap flight to Bali or America.(maybe you'd want to strike-out Bali, post Oct 2002 !).

You've just used up all your 'carbon credits', or environmental Brownie points, in one go. The average jet pumps over a tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every passenger it carries from Sydney to Singapore. One return flight, say, Sydney to Hong Kong, and you're responsible for more carbon dioxide production than a year's motoring.

Burn rate: Air travel produces more CO2 per km travelled for each passenger than car travel. While efforts are being made to cut CO2 emissions from cars and industry, nothing is being done to rein in the airlines.

Do you feel guilty about global warming every time you get behind the wheel of your car? If you are a frequent flier, start feeling more guilty.

On a round trip from New York to London, according to the calculations of the Edinburgh Center for Carbon Management in Scotland, a Boeing 747 spews out about 440 tons (880,000 pounds) of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas. That’s about the same amount that 80 SUV's [4WD vehicles] emit in a full year of hard driving – and about 126 pounds for each mile flown. At an occupancy rate of 78 percent, each of the 317 passengers in that Boeing 747 will be responsible for 2,776 pounds of the pollutant. There may be cause for more concern in the years ahead. Despite the current lull in air travel relating to fears of terrorism and war, and according to figures provided by the Edinburgh Center, an independent consulting group, worldwide carbon dioxide emissions from civil aviation will double from 1999 to 2015, to 900 million tons a year, despite a 20 percent increase in fuel efficiency by the airline industry over the period. By 2015, airplanes' share of human-generated carbon dioxide emissions will rise to 3% from 2% in 1999.

- Harry Rijnen, New York Times, 18/02/2003

Air transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet there will be shockingly little debate on whether there is any point in having the greenest of green eco-resorts in deepest Peru or Cape York if all the wealthy, sandalled 'ecotourists' each burn six tonnes of carbon dioxide getting there and back. On top of this, the nitrogen dioxide making those seemingly pretty jet trails high in the atmosphere are compounding the greenhouse effect by trapping infra-red radiation.

Equally ironic, the Federal Government ultimately rejected proposals for an off-shore Second Airport because of the possibility the jets would be seen from Bondi Beach, probably Sydney's premier international tourist attraction. Don't worry about them flying in tons of carbon dioxide, and being choked by Sydney's Smog Cycle

Second Airport Dumped in Residential Areas (Bankstown)

Dec 13th, 2000:The Federal Government and Sydney Airports Corporation (SAC) announced their plans to expand Bankstown Airport, formerly a general aviation airport in the centre of Sydney's residential areas, and defer development of a Second Sydney airport at Badgery's Creek.

Badgery's Creek had been planned since 1985, but was deferred in the early 90's by construction of the Third Runway at KSA.

Not even 6 months earlier, in June 2000, Prime Minister Howard promised a decision would be made by year end and said "it would not be a non-decision designed to defer still further resolution of what has become a serious transport issue".

But he's delivered a monumentally unfair non-decision that steals over $50,000 from each of 12,000 families in residential areas adjoining Bankstown airport (see Airport Scares Buyers - House Prices Take a Dive). Hard working families are being expected to give more than $600 million in subsidies to wealthy air travellers and aviation moguls.

Bankstown too close to residents

Figure 1 - Bankstown Airport has No Residential Exclusion Zone
To see how unfair this non-decision is, look at the non-residential land around Badgerys Creek (in the map above), and that around Bankstown, and ask yourself the question: why isn't Badgery's Creek a better place to put whatever is planned for Bankstown ?

Bankstown residents are even closer to its runways than Mascot residents are to Kingsford Smith Airport runways (see exclusion zone circle around KSA in above image). Noise from regionals that might be tolerable at KSA will not be tolerable for Bankstown's much closer residents.

Kurnell, which was floated as a decoy that could be quickly dismissed, is even better than KSA, and again way better than Bankstown (a potential airport site is circled in above image).

This is not to say that any of these is absolutely the best place for an airport. This is a comparative argument. It's just saying if Badgery's Creek is not a suitable airport site in any way, shape, or form how on earth can Bankstown be more suitable ? If Kurnell isn't suitable, how can Bankstown be ? If KSA can't be expanded with further traffic, how can Bankstown ? Is it only because it's a safe Labor seat ?

Bankstown Expansion Impacts - Big Yellow Taxi

Bankstown is a residential suburb of 50,000 families in the middle of Sydney suburbia - halfway between Badgerys Creek, the originally proposed site, and Sydney's present Kingsford Smith international airport (KSA) at Mascot. Most of the additional distance between Badgery's Creek and Bankstown is accounted for by the residential exclusion zone (buffer) kept around Badgery's Creek.

The heart of the issue is this:

Airlines prefer to fly over residents than inconvenience their frequent flyers with the additional travel required to get through a residential exclusion zone. A choice between:

  • Twenty two extra km travel at 100 km/hr on the M4/Western Orbital. That's a mere 13 minutes, or less time than a priority check-in friend of the airlines would take to walk from his car to the aircraft at KSA or any large airport.
  • A noise nightmare for 400,000 people.

Aviation interests want a subsidy of more than $600 million from traditional Aussie battlers and homeowners to pay for airport expansion for their profit.

Frequent Flyer Prime Minister John Howard, John Fahey and their fellow environmental goths agree with the Airlines.

Nearly 36,000 people live within the 20 ANEF (noise) level of Bankstown Airport (last evaluated in 1994 for no jet light aircraft operations only). An expanded Bankstown Airport will devastate a far larger area. Badgery's Creek (option C) would expose between 300 and 600 people to this noise level.

Bankstown Airport was developed as a dirt-strip air-force airport for World War II at a time when Bankstown was beyond the outskirts of Sydney. Bankstown was then even less populated than what the Badgery's Creek area is now.

Over the last 40 years, it has slowly developed into the Southern Hemisphere's busiest general aviation airport whilst Sydney's residential areas expanded all around it.

There are many people who settled near Bankstown in the 1950's, who could never have imagined even the level of noise created by today's general aviation. Tens of thousands of families settled around Bankstown in the 1960's and later years, accepting the reassurance from study after study which rejected it as a second airport site.

These latest proposals will threaten the delicate balance of that developed over the last 40 years, posing much greater noise and pollution threats than is compatible with its historic role.

Regional Airlines Reject Bankstown

The regional airlines and their passengers even less want to go to Bankstown than the international and interstate airlines want to go to Badgerys Creek. The academic's report even admits:

"Transferring regional airlines to Bankstown Airport would be an absolute disaster"
- George Souris, Leader of the NSW National Party

" move out to Bankstown would basically ruin my business."
- Mr Terry McKenzie, Managing Director of Country Connections Airlines

"The distance of Bankstown from the city is a major disadvantage."
- Cr. Robert Schroder from Severn Shire Council

General shortcomings with Bankstown include:

  • Slow and expensive access to CBD;
  • Need for overnight accommodation;
  • Lack Connection with international and domestic flights.;
  • Disincentive to decentralisation; and
  • Safety.

The academics acknowledge these problems, but think it can all be solved by throwing compensation (i.e. a bribe) at the regional airlines. The academics propose to price the regionals out of KSA, and attract them to Bankstown with free landing charges. Of course, there is not one word of compensation for the residents that have to suffer the 30 large jets per hour (that's one every 2 minutes) in their proposal. And the last thing they consider is for the blood-sucking aviation industry to have to pay its own way - as any truly deregulated competitive industry should.

Maybe if an airport became an interstate or international hub, the regionals could be attracted to the proposal. But they would not be thinking of the public, either their city-bound passengers (the majority), nor the families living in South West Sydney.

Before you think the idea of pricing airlines out of KSA might never happen, look at the evidence from August 2002. Virgin Airlines ran a press campaign bitterly complaining that Macquarie Airports was pricing them out of the former Ansett terminal. That's just the first step towards squeezing them out to Bankstown.

Of course, Virgin deserve little sympathy. They had the opportunity to bid for the Ansett terminal - it fetched $198 million. That's only 10 years of the kind of rent they claim to be prepared to pay for just a half-dozen terminal gates. It's pretty ridiculous to whinge that they're being asked to pay double a reasonable rent. They should very clearly have overbid Macquarie's price (say by 5%) and then sub-let the unwanted terminal space.

Impractical Travel Times

The stupidity of the Bankstown proposal is readily seen when you consider that from 7:30 am on a workday, a trip to KSA domestic terminals takes 35 minutes on a good day (timed on 19/06/02).To get to the edge of the CBD takes 1 hour 10 minutes (Bankstown to corner of Park & Elizabeth Streets - deeper into the CBD would take even longer).

Later in the peak hour would takes longer, and of course, you'd better plan that there will be no accidents if you want to make your connections ! For example, on 27/08/02, with no accidents, leaving the domestic terminal at 5:10 pm, the trip to Bankstown Airport took 55 minutes (not counting waiting time for luggage nor bus, taxi etc.,; route followed exited M5 at King Georges Road, as this avoids the parking lot that develops often West of Fairford Road; most of the delay occurs in the very foul-aired M5 East Tunnel.).

July 31st, 2003: "The NSW Health Department's long overdue study into the health risks to drivers using the M5 East tunnel has confirmed what thousands of drivers and many health experts have been saying for nearly two years. Anyone, particularly asthmatics, spending more than a total of 15 minutes a day in the tunnel are putting their health at risk.

The study confirms that the air quality standards and monitoring systems in place are inappropriate and inadequate. The M5 East's operators do not currently need to monitor benzene or particles, but only carbon monoxide levels, so as far as they are concerned, it is not a problem they have to deal with"

- RAPS' media release from 31.07.2003 here:

- NSW Health study here:

As reported in the following letter to the Daily Telegraph (28/6/02) by Yvonne Lee of Ingleburn,

"I have had the great misfortune to have had to use the largest parking lot in Australia - the M5 motorway - on two occassions within a week, the last being Friday June 21. Both return journeys started at Sydney Airport. The best time experienced was last Friday, when the tunnel entrance to tollgate took 50 minutes...". On the second trip it was one hour and 20 minutes. "...It is quicker to come home via Earlwood and Canterbury. Do the run yourself and time it. You will be surprised"

Very simply, the roads and infrastructure around Bankstown are already at bursting point.

The M5-East hasn't been designed to cope with Bankstown as a regional or international airport and can't be expected to fulfill this role. It will do nothing for CBD bound travellers nor Northern suburb frequent flyers - the vast majority. It was designed to carry traffic from residential growth in the South West of Sydney, not meet an airport's requirements, and travel times via the M5 will clearly deteriorate as growth in the South West saturates it even in off-peak hours.

In the post September 11th 2001 climate, security issues related to baggage checking and passenger scanning will make transferring between Bankstown and KSA even less desirable (adding at least half an hour to travel times). In the weeks after September 11th, Christian churches within a few kilometres of Bankstown airport were fire-bombed. The roads between the airports are not a secure environment, and would be an obvious vulnerability for extremists to work on.

A transfer to Bankstown could easily add one and a half hours to your travel time - more than the time it takes to fly Sydney to Brisbane, Canberra or Melbourne.

In contrast, Badgerys Creek needs have been included in planning of the recent lane additions for the M4 freeway, and has been part of Sydney's coordinated traffic plans for nearly 20 years. A Final EIS was released in July 1999 giving Badgery's Creek a big tick and crossing out the Bankstown option.

It is equally sensible to ask why should regional businessmen be expected to overnight in Sydney, and not the interstate businessmen rocking up at KSA whenever they please ? The economics of an overnight stay are very favorable compared to the real cost of developing infrequently used airport capacity, and businessmen should be forced to pay their way.

Fair user pays costing would most likely see the international and high-value domestic business traffic claim the peak hour slots, and the low value domestic, international and regional businesses can adjust to fill the off-times. And when demand plummets as it did after September 11th, airport managers should find themselves able to close runways and reduce staffing for the less desirable times in the afternoon and evening periods.

This educated guess here in late 2001 was proven spot-on:

July 9th, 2003: It didn't take long for the man known as "Max the Axe" to start swinging in his new job. It was less than six months ago that Max Moore-Wilton moved from the Prime Minister's department to his new position as Chief Executive of Sydney Airports Corporation.

Today, the former head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet told employees that up to four out of ten of them would shortly be out of a job.

Mark Colvin, ABC's PM, July 9th 2003

Second Sydney Airport EIS Assessment Rejected Bankstown

Included in that EIS was the following assessment of the Bankstown option (Ch 6 Strategic Alternatives Section 6.5.4):

"Regional and general aviation aircraft currently account for about 41 percent of all traffic at Sydney Airport. This proportion is not expected to change over the next 20 years.

Bankstown Airport could be considered as an alternative for all regional turbo-prop and most general aviation aircraft presently using Sydney Airport.

1) This would in turn cause the displacement of a considerable amount of other general aviation traffic from Bankstown Airport to other airports in the Sydney region.

2) Bankstown Airport is constrained by its inability to cater for multiple operations by aircraft operating under Instrument Flight Rules in adverse weather conditions. For scheduled operations, additional navigational aids would be required and airspace would need to be substantially modified.

3) In addition, the compatibility of basic training and scheduled aircraft would be a major consideration for Government and the aviation industry.

4) Other significant issues to be addressed would include

i) the provision of additional terminal facilities,

ii) surface access,

iii) the environmental impacts on surrounding communities, and

iv) the capacity to handle interlining transfer passengers

5) Also, the cost of establishing such facilities might have to be borne by a relatively small number of regional operators...

It is clear that under current operating arrangements, and without changes that would involve major impacts on existing aviation and military operations, the secondary Sydney airports located at Bankstown and Richmond could provide only minor capacity to satisfy Sydney's long term air traffic needs. Increased use of these facilities would also result in a range of increased environmental impacts on surrounding communities"

Bankstown Expansion Announced

Despite this, Federal Cabinet met on 12th December 2000, and decided to defer Badgery's Creek airport for 10 years, and ask a private buyer to purchase and extend Bankstown Airport.

Bankstown would be an "overflow" interstate airport able to cater for 737's as well as regional airlines. Prime Minister Howard later candidly admitted that he didn't believe Badgery's Creek would ever be built.

So if the Second Airport isn't going at Badgery's, it's clear Bankstown is Howard's intended Second International Airport site.

If you don't know what a 737 is, have a look at the aircraft used in the NO Regional Bankstown graphic at top. Or search on the Qantas site (look for seating plans, or fleet details).

If you want to learn more about how dangerous an aircraft the 737 is, and how profit is put before safety in the aviation industry, go to the Seattle Times site news archive, and search for 737 or the award winning series of "Safety at Issue" articles from October 1996; another briefer account can be found at

The sale of KSA to the Southern Cross consortium resulted in the new owners declaring it unlikely that any airport at Badgery's Creek would be considered in the next 20 years. They'll be happy using their monopoly to fleece the travelling public for as long as possible, and then hold the public to ransom over the second airport location.

Whatever the demerits of Badgerys' Creek are, Bankstown is much worse. As shown in the map above Badgerys Creek runways were all at least 10 km from the nearest urban residential areas. Bankstown is literally across the road. There is no residential exclusion zone. Nowhere for 737's to roll-over without killing hundreds of people.

The Government said it would consider providing assistance for the private buyer to extend Bankstown Airport. There was no offer to the community of a proper public EIS process on this Bankstown proposal, or any of the other considerations very clearly given to the Badgery's Creek plans over the last 16 years. Indeed, concerned Bankstown community groups have been excluded from the Second Airport EIS process and SACL's briefings to the aviation industry on the Bankstown proposals.

While the law may require an EIS before further runway extensions are accomplished, with the government so ready to fund a private buyer, there would be a clear conflict of interest - the government would be in no position to ensure a fair or independent EIS process. And in any case, the law has provided no protection whatsoever from the extensions which have taken place at Bankstown in 1997; maybe the government plans to simply ignore the law as it did before.

The Howard government proposes to spend bucketloads of taxpayers money to help airlines wreak environmental and financial havoc on the families of South Western Sydney.

The inner city residents who'll see KSA operations revert to the North/South parallel runway approaches (because of conflict between the East/West runway and Bankstown) will also cop it.

The airlines are barbarians who find an airport located away from residential areas just too much at conflict with their profit-maximising motives.

In putting the Bankstown option in place of Badgery's Creek, the government is clearly supporting the airlines' vandalism and showing it couldn't care less about families. More than this, they are happy to take tens of thousands of dollars from battling families to fund airlines.

Absurdly, at the same Cabinet meeting, proposals to build the high speed rail link between Canberra and Sydney were rejected because they would require government funding (of just $1 billion, or less than a quarter of the estimated cost of the second airport, and probably less than what is being stolen from the people around Bankstown).

What's the principle: one rule for your mates serving you Chardonnay up the front of the plane, another rule for everyone else ?

Do you feel safe leaving the decisions to such people ?

Treacherous Misinformation on 737's

The Bankstown idea is so ridiculous, it might be hard for some people to accept it as a real threat. The previous week's suggestion of Kurnell as a possible site was designed to caste such doubts in people's mind, helping to defuse the situation.

Aiding this, one local Labor politician was quickly quoted in the local press as pointing out how impractical the idea was by claiming there wasn't enough room to expand Bankstown to the 3 km length you need for a 737 airport, and that the runways weren't wide enough.

But you only need 1.8 km length and 30 m width for 737's (e.g. they operate on this length and width at Launceston and Maroochydore). Bankstown's 11 C runway is already the right width (30m) for 737's and larger jets. The 1998 filling of the drains at the Eastern end of 11 C have given enough space to extend it to 1.8 km. While airport managers pretended this was just for added safety during the Olympics, it should now be clear it was signalling the real intentions to extend runways over the drain (take a look at the scale of the earthworks here)

Can you afford to think it won't happen ? Howard is too much a coward to build a proper second airport with appropriate buffer zones to residential areas. So he's bombing Bankstown as quietly as he can instead.

Consultation - Cold Comfort ?

If you think the opposition will protect you, can you afford to take comfort from their promises of consultation ? They've been extremely careful to avoid making any categorical statements that Bankstown expansion will not happen under a Labor government.

While they lambast National Party head John Anderson's promise that regional airlines would be forced to Bankstown "over my dead body", no one has been prepared to say Bankstown airport expansion would happen "over my dead body".

Perhaps it's worth challenging any prospective candidates at elections in the area: ask them if they'll resign if they can't stop the airport expansion ?

Or do they think it fair that they continue to sit in Parliament doing nothing while the government steals $50,000 from average home owners in South West Sydney ?

If enough people start asking these awkward questions, people-power will defeat the short-sighted airport mis-planners.

Olympic Myth Baulks Cabinet

Prior to this, on the 25th October 2000, press reports (The Australian and Daily Telegraph) suggested that Badgerys Creek had been abandoned in favour of expanding Bankstown Airport:

"THE Federal Government has dumped plans to build a second airport at Badgerys Creek in Sydney's west. Cabinet yesterday made an in-principle decision to ditch plans for the airport and will instead focus on other major transport projects... (Daily Telegraph, 25/10/00)

"FEDERAL cabinet has ruled out building a second airport in western Sydney, clearing the way for a $4 billion sale of Sydney airport and a rash of large building projects around Australia. (The Australian, 25/10/00)

It was said that Cabinet believed the Olympic games had proved we didn't need a second airport. Many Sydney-siders may have been misled by the games hype into thinking that vast hordes of travellers came to Sydney for the Olympics.

The facts speak differently:

The Olympic peak workload at the KSA International Terminal was just 8% higher than the previous peak (45,000 passenger movements on 2/10/00 v's 42,100 on 2/1/98, according to SACL press releases; 42% of the Olympic record movements were arrivals).

In the Final EIS for the Second Airport (July 1999), the government predicted 4.2% per annum growth in airport demand or the next 10 years. All the Olympics have proved is that the airport can accomodate barely 2 years of the expected growth rate ( and, indeed, no more than it was predicted to handle in January 2001 !!).

CEO of the Airports Coordination Authority, Mr Ernst Krolke, on December 12th (Daily Telegraph), dismissed suggestions that the Olympics were a pointer to Sydney KSA airport's ability to cope with future growth. The ACA is responsible for allocating slots at KSA.

Despite predictions of thousands of extra flights, there were just 1,700 over a two-month period between August and October - barely 3 per cent more than usual. The Olympic traffic was handled in the low-usage out of peak periods considered non-commercial by airlines.

Mr Krolke revealed yesterday that an average 960 flights a day would be flying in and out of the airport by next October, due almost entirely to the entry of Impulse Airlines and Virgin Blue.

During the Olympic month of September there were 25,948 flights handled at the airport. The following month there was a record 26,798 flights.

The surge brings into question the conclusions of the environmental impact statement into the Badgerys Creek site, which predicted that the growth would be about 4 per cent a year, with the airport reaching its peak capacity in 2006-07.

Sydney Airport is experiencing an explosion in growth that is already swamping the Olympic boom and will mean a 20 to 25 per cent growth over the next year, according to the authority which allocates aircraft slots.

While the Federal Government continued to deliberate on where to build a second airport, the chief executive of the Airport Co-ordination Authority, Mr Ernst Krolke, warned that time was running out on how the cope with aviation growth in Sydney.

International traffic is less than 20% of KSA's workload. The growth is primarily 737 and smaller aircraft - just the right size for the proposed expansions at Bankstown.

More evidence of the traffic growth induced by the entry of Virgin and Impulse airlines and the Olympics publicity came in press releases by SAC ( Airport Xmas Rush to be even busier than olympics 21/12/2000, and as reported in SMH 22/12/2000 page 3 ).

Later data (Sep 2002) shows the effects of the Olympics were virtually undone in the following year. See Logistic Prediction of Airport Growth for details.

Ansett went broke, and Qantas was left with a virtual monopoly (possibly over 80% of the domestic market). While Virgin continued to draw breath and advertise low airfares sporadicly, they were exceedingly difficult to book and looked more smoke and mirrors than reality.

Evidence of the accuracy of the 25th October 2000 reports on Badgery's fate came with the next-day responses. Firstly, Prime Minister Howard appeared on 2UE talkback radio to deny the report that Badgery's was out of contention or that Cabinet had made up it's mind.

And with all the sincerity in the world, Howard claimed a decision would be made about the end of the year - when in June 2000 he'd promised a decision by August - see decision date set.

Clearly, Howard did not want to alarm the Bankstown and KSA affected voters too soon (especially those of the latter who live in his own electorate). How can we resolve the contradiction ? Can't he keep a promise barely 4 months later, or is it simply that he did make a decision in August but doesn't want to announce it ?

"If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you end up with the evil of two lessers" - Ralph Nader, US Presidential Candidate, November 2000.

Regional's Won't Be Forced to Bankstown

More telling was Transport Minister John Anderson's response to the Sydney Morning Herald's Robert Wainwright (26/10/00): no regional airline would be forced to move to Bankstown; a significant shift from his February 2000 claims that the Bankstown proposals had no status.

There are many ways to persuade, trick or cajole regional airlines into a Bankstown move, without actually "forcing" them into something which previously had "no status".

in uento et rapida scribere oportet aqua.

-Gauis Catallus, Roman poet 83 - 54 BC describing a woman's promise to an eager lover; translation:

"written in wind and engraved on running water"

The reports of Cabinet discussions suggested that a program of big-spending in regional areas might buy-off any backlash from rural voters (see AFR, 6th October 2000).

But what of the gross unfairness to the far larger population of Sydney-siders around Bankstown, and the ever-expanding problems that KSA will present to inner city residents ?

The Bankstown proposal is far more misguided than Badgery's Creek and grossly unfair to a far larger population, including many in the Prime Minister's electorate.

Of course, nobody is admitting that they plan Bankstown will be the Second International airport ... yet.

In classic bureaucratic boil-the-frog incrementalism, SAC plans started off talking about a regional airport, then slowly upgraded it's plans to interstate status and will take the next step to international as quietly as possible

(Hands up anyone who noticed when Canberra airport became international ? Clue: it was some time in 1998).

Second Airport Proposals

Australia's Federal Government conducted an Environmental Impact Study for a 24-hour Second Sydney Airport considering Badgerys Creek and Holsworthy as sites from early 1996 to late 2000. By the end of October 2000, Bankstown was reported to be the unannounced favoured alternate location of the Federal Cabinet as well as the airport owners. Two months later, Kurnell was raised as a prospective site to give cover to the Governments decision. Under the cover of the Christmas vacations, the government announced Bankstown as its preferred option.

From May 1996 to Sept 1997, sites at Badgerys Creek and Holsworthy Reserve were under open investigation. Badgery's Creek had been recommended as the best site in a 1984 Second Airport Site selection Environmental Impact Study. In 1984, Kurnell didn't get a mention, and Bankstown was quickly dismissed as unsuitable and environmentally untenable.

The Hawke Labor government decided in 1989 that it could best protect inner-city Labor seats to the east and west of KSA by developing a third runway that would concentrate traffic in a North-South direction (over much safer Labor and Liberal seats). So it deferred the Badgery's Creek plans, and began construction of a Third Runway at KSA. The Third Runway opened in November 1994. The Keating Labor governmnet was defeated in the Federal Elections in March 1996 - the dominant factor in this loss was

"the massive swing against Labor in seats on the outer fringes of Sydney, seats that at other elections might have been termed the mortgage belt. Labor lost Robertson based on Gosford, Lindsay based on Penrith, Macquarie in the Blue Mountains, Macarthur based on Camden, and the outer southern suburbs electorate of Hughes. Labor's other two losses were inner suburban Parramatta and Lowe."

(- Election 98 Analysis, Antony Green, ABC)

Badgery's Creek sat on the northern border of the Macarthur electorate, affecting both itself and Lindsay very severely, as well as Blue Mountains and Parramatta electorates. The first Howard Government almost immedediatly set about finding alternatives to Badgery's Creek, putting forward the Holsworthy option within 6 months.

In September 1997, as a result of a huge community outcry, Holsworthy was rightly abandoned. On December 22nd, 1997 (yes folks, hiding amongst the Christmas festivities), the revised Draft EIS for the Badgerys Creek proposal was released.

On 7th July, 1999, the Federal Government released the Final EIS for the Second Sydney Airport. It gave Badgery's Creek a big tick. But there were ominous signs that the Badgerys Creek proposal was fatally flawed.

By mid 2003, it was clear that the government had abandoned the Second Airport, effectively taking the Do Nothing option. It totally neglected to evaluate the Do Nothing option, and completely ignored the EIS Auditors warnings on this failure.

Bankstown Plans First Revealed

As early as July 1997, Finance Minister John Fahey (who's recently won Macarthur electorate included the Badgerys' Creek site), started dumping his problems on Bankstown by promoting it as the alternate second airport site. Fahey's February 1998 comments on release of the Draft EIS auditor's report should have been ringing alarm bells in Bankstown. See the April 1998 reports of Fahey's Bankstown proposals for a map of Fahey's electorate (prior to the 1999 redistribution, after the redistribution it remained in his electorate. Fahey retired due to ill health at the 2001 Federal Election, but the seat was still held by the Liberal's Pat Farmer).

On August 13th, 1999 - just three days before Federal Cabinet was due to meet to make a decision on the Second Sydney Airport EIS - the Tourism Task Force (chaired by a former Liberal State Minister and close colleague of Mr Fahey) released details of its study proposing that Bankstown be expanded to handle KSA overflow, so that a second airport would not be needed for another 14 years.

By Friday 11th February 2000, there had been no further Cabinet deliberations. Sydney Airport Corporation held a briefing for conservative Federal and State Members of Parliament at which they discussed their $40 million proposal to turn Bankstown Airport into a regional hub and clear Sydney Airport as a jet-only airport.

This was reported by Robert Wainwright in the Sydney Morning Herald of February 17th, 2000:

'Secret Plot' to boost flights over city

Sydney Airports Corporation has been accused of trying to mount a clandestine campaign to increase aircraft movements and boost noise levels over the city by up to 30 per cent.

Corporation officials confirmed last night that the possible exclusion of turbo-prop aircraft from the limit of 80 take-offs and landings an hour was raised at a meeting of Federal and State MPs and regional community leaders last Friday.

The proposal, which has enraged anti-aircraft noise protesters and politicians, would allow more jet aircraft in and out of the airport at peak hours because regional aircraft make up 30 per cent of all movements.

It was floated at Friday's private briefing of 40 State and Federal conservative MPs and regional mayors and council staff. They also discussed a $40 million proposal to turn Bankstown airport into a regional hub that would handle 2 million passengers a year and clear Sydney Airport as a jet-only airport. The airport corporation defended the meeting and its contents, saying it was part of an annual event.

"It was an annual briefing of political and community leaders which covered topics from paddock-to-plate export to the Olympic Games," a spokesman said, adding that the exclusion of turbo-propos from the aircraft movement limits was raised "in the political context".

But the Federal Minister for Transport, Mr Anderson, last night poured cold water on the proposal and accused the corporation of overstepping its authority.

"The Bankstown plan has no status with us and is not forming part of the decision-making process currently before Cabinet," a spokesman for Mr Anderson said.

"We were aware of the meeting but unaware that this sort of information was being floated."

Of the proposal to change the movement limit, the spokesman commented: "That would be in breach of the cap limits and we have no intention of doing that."

The row emerged yesterday when the Federal MP for Grayndler, Mr Anthony Albanese, tabled a copy of the corporation's briefing in Federal Parliament. Mr Albanese accused the corporation of leading the push to maximise profitability in the lead-up to privatisation.

"I have been told by people who attended the meeting that [corporation] officials wanted support for a plan that would remove the turbo-prop aircraft from the movement cap," he said.

"If regional aircraft were removed from Sydney and taken to Bankstown, it would spell an end to a second airport at Badgerys Creek. What this says is, rather than build Badgerys Creek, the plan is to move regional airlines to Bankstown and just continue to place more and more pressure on Sydney Airport."

The Sydney Airport Community Forum chairman, Liberal back-bencher Dr Brendan Nelson, said it was no secret that the corporation wanted to deal with increasing demand at Sydney by shifting regional planes to Bankstown.

"What's particularly outrageous about the most recent proposal is, firstly, that I, as chairman of the SACF [Sydney Airport Community Forum], was not even informed of the briefing, let alone invited to it," Dr Nelson said. "Secondly, the Government has made it quite clear that the cap, which is in legislation for the airport, is 80 movements an hour; that's for all planes".

While we should be grateful that Granny Herald reported this, the article focusses on the inner city consequences and shows no concern at all for the families of Bankstown (who don't buy enough Herald's).

All the same, Dr Nelson's concerns are telling. SAC does not consult with the community - it consults only its pro-aviation mates.

You shouldn't be too reassured by the government spokesman's rebuttals. That's just pouring oil on troubled waters, and that's part of their softening up process (see Boiling Frogs) . It doesn't say that Bankstown Expansion plans can't or won't be brought into the current decision process. That is was rejected by the EIS for the second airport does not matter. As was evident by late October 2000, Bankstown was well and truly in the current process.

John Fahey (Federal Minister for Finance and owner of SAC until his 2001 retirement), the Tourism Task Force (TTF), SAC and the aviation industry are pushing hard for Bankstown expansion. They know that Badgerys Creek is not going to happen.

Tourism Task Force Study

The Tourism Task Force study was carried out by researchers from Charles Sturt University, located in Wagga Wagga some 460 km from the problems they were creating.

If these researchers and the Tourism Task Force that hired them lived closer to reality and weren't so desperate for funding or taxpayer subsidised profits, they might find some real insights into Sydney's Airport issue. They would at least not make the mistake of asserting that the travel time to KSA from Bankstown is 25 minutes.

From experience, I can tell them that in peak air travel hours, it is easily double that. Bankstown Airport is 28 km from KSA, and even the best freeway in the world won't get you there in 25 minutes; recently completed M5 tunnel and tollway certainly won't do the job - it takes 28 minutes in the best of off-peak times, and very much longer when peak-hour bumper-to-bumper delays have to be negotiated

The Final Second Sydney Airport EIS and the State Legislative Council inquiry both reported there are monumental environmental problems with expanding Bankstown's role. There's the devastation of replacing regional aircraft with even worse aircraft at KSA, as well as the immediate effects at Bankstown. No wonder the regional airlines don't want it.

The State inquiry rightly concluded that regional airline travellers will prefer to drive all the way to Sydney than face the hassle of crossing the big-smoke to pick up connecting flights, or battle their way into the city from Bankstown via taxis or public transport.

Bankstown has always been one of Australia's safest Labor seats, and hence has been one of the last places to have public money spent on road or rail transport links.

Denying Growth

The TTF proposal claims that Badgery's Creek can be deferred for 14 years at this cost. It ignores the fact that at the end of 14 years, Badgery's Creek and any of the better out-of-basin sites would be further built-out and even less of an option than today.

Unless Tourism chiefs will accept no further growth than the next 14 years, it behoves them to come up with a plan with greater foresight than this. If they want to accept limits to airport growth (see here for forecasting growth), why not start now and forget about second airports, Bankstown expansion or any further increase to KSA's present traffic levels ? Caste this acceptance in concrete by legislating to prevent Bankstown airport expansion and returning title of the lands to the local community.

In view of the aviation and tourist industry's historic inability to give fair consideration to the impacts on communities near potential or existing airport sites, that would be a delightful outcome. But don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen...

Inner city residents know they've heard it all before - this was just the argument that produced the Third Runway at KSA. That was supposed to allow Badgerys Creek construction to be deferred by 10 years. Here we go again, deferring a Second Airport Decision by dumping on KSA. The only difference now is that Bankstown will get to be dumped on too, and regional air travellers will be severely inconvenienced. In both cases, the environment and city residents are the big-time losers.

1999 Cabinet Deliberations

The Federal Cabinet met to decide the airport issue on 16-17th August 1999. Jackie Kelly (member for Lindsay, the electorate on the northern border of the Badgery's Creek Site) was included in the deliberations to help damn the Badgery's proposal even though she was not a Cabinet member.

Cabinet deliberated for two days, and in the end decided to defer the decision until they had more information on other options (read Bankstown). Over the following few days, other Tourist and aviation industry spokesmen supported the TTF proposal, speaking of Badgery's Creek as a Third Airport Sydney doesn't need.

Cabinet wanted more information, but was not prepared to be fair about it by opening up an independent EIS process on the other options. Cabinet wanted mates-options only.

On the 18th August, 1999 Qantas' chairman John Strong announced record profit for the airline and came out with a statement supporting the Bankstown option.`Naturally he had some proviso's (read self-interest ?) about slot allocations that needed to be resolved. Is this greedy self interest speaking with no consideration for the plight of Bankstown and KSA residents ?

Decision Date Set

By June 5th, 2000, there had been no further Cabinet deliberations, and no decision on the airport. Minister Anderson told the International Air Transport Association Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit meeting (was at, link broken 2002), announcing a decision would be made by the end of the year. Perhaps this wasn't too convincing, for on June 8th, the Daily Telegraph's Chief Political Reporter Malcolm Farr reported:

Second Airport Decision Date Set

Prime Minister John Howard has for the first time set a deadline for the Government's Badgerys Creek decision, saying it will be revealed before the end of August.

The official response will come almost 12 months after development of Badgery's Creek was declared to have insurmountable environmental obstacles.

Last night, Government sources said Cabinet's final considerations would start with meetings on July 17 and 18. But Badgery's is unlikely to figure significantly in the Government announcement.

Mr Howard has said it would not be a "non-decision" designed to defer still further resolution of what has become as serious transport issue.

However, it is thought the centrepiece of the announcement will be approval of a high-speed Canberra-Sydney rail link, and a feasibility study of similar commercial services aimed at joining Melbourned to Sydney.

There will be no major development of Badgery's Creek in western Sydney as a second airport, according to Government and industry sources.

The decision will be aimed at settling the second airport issue without antagonising voters in Western Sydney who don't want Badgerys developed, or those in Northern Sydney who want existing aircraft noise from Kingsford Smith Airport reduced.

The Melbourne-Sydney fast train link is expected to quieten Victorian interests who want a national, rather than a "Sydney-centric" solution.

And of significant importance, the response will be cheaper than spending up to $9 billion on a new airport.

The announcement is expected to be an in-principle approval of the Sydney-Canberra fast train link and the commissioning of an enviornmental impact statement for the project.

It is believed the government has endorsed the use of high-speed rail services to cut Sydney Airport traffic.

The attractiveness of the first leg, Sydney-Canberra, has been boosted by a study which cut the required government funding by $1 billion.

This story appeared at the time the PM was travelling to Japan, when he would be enjoying the benefits of a good relationship with the aviation industry and seeking to reassure them.

More interestingly, these announcements came the same week that John Fahey announced he would seek preselection for the new seat of Hume. Perhaps it was necessary to placate the electorates around Badgery's, so that they wouldn't see him as deserting a sinking ship. As this site has maintained consistently since Holsworthy was put on the agenda, the Badgerys' plans are dead in the water. As Farr reports, neither the Government, nor industry want Badgery's.

But there's no comfort here to Bankstown residents. Not one word to address fears of Bankstown expansion. The Bankstown plans remain alive, perhaps as part of the strategy of propping up KSA in combination with the fast-train.

The State of Play - 2000

So the Government spends millions of public money pursuing an EIS into the Second Airport site. None of this was spent on the investigation of the noise and other environmental impacts of a Bankstown option (see Page 4-11 of Final EIS). Nor did it address the terminal, runway, passenger facilities, roads, sewerage, drainage and other infrastructure needed to expand Bankstown.

None of it included consultation with Bankstown communities - and indeed throughout the EIS process the Government and airport bureaucrats strenuously denied that Bankstown was under consideration (see Council Briefing)

Nevertheless, a highly questionable study financed by the Tourism industry (you can bet it's sure not independent nor totally reliable) gets everyone in Cabinet taking the do-nothing option of expanding Bankstown and KSA.

While the Holsworthy proposal was just plain stupid, outrage over it provided a smoke screen behind which Fahey and aviation bureaucrats have been quietly building Bankstown expansion options.

When the time came to make a tough decision, we see yet another smoke-screen laid in the form of the preposterous suggestion that Kurnell will ever be a viable airport site.

The Danger

If you think the Bankstown option is harmless, think about how you're going to stop it being expanded into a full-blown 24-hour Second Airport for Sydney. Listen carefully to the rhetoric of Tourism council executives when they speak of Bankstown as Sydney's second airport, and be afraid of what it will do to Sydney. Carefully note the rhetoric from aviation proponents who try to portray Bankstown as being built as a reliever airport in the 1940's, when in fact it was built for military purposes in WWII (a coastal airport being considered too insecure)

If Finance Minister John Fahey's self-interest and influence can transfer the Second Airport from Badgery's Creek to Bankstown, what will Prime Minister John Howards' self-interest and influence do to save his electorate from the devastation of KSA expansion ? If Bankstown is Fahey's answer, will Howard's dilemma be solved by sneaking in gradual expansions until Bankstown is Sydney's full-scale second international airport ? Or will he keeping pushing until it's Sydney's primary international airport ?

The speed at which the fast-train option was dumped showed that the Government's June 2000 conversion to the fast-train option wasn't genuine, but just a smokescreen behind which the KSA/Bankstown expansion plans could be developed.

Is it okay to dump on the South West because it's primarily safe Labor electorates there, rather than marginal Liberal ? Will South West voters desert the Labor party if they can't defend them against this outrage, or will we see only token resistance from Labor ? Why didn't they see this coming and organise some pre-emptive protests ?

Write to your local members and to the Government - put them on notice that you won't stand by them at election time if they dump Bankstown expansion on you !

Sydney needs a real and sustainable Second Airport, not another stop-gap stuff-up like the Third Runway at KSA.

Do Nothing Threats

Although Badgerys' Creek was given a big EIS tick, and Bankstown was rejected, the Federal Government decided to choose a scaled-up Bankstown option that is far larger than contemplated in the Second Airport EIS.

While the June 2000 government words said a decision on a Second Aiport would be made, the Governments deeds indicated it was taking the do-nothing option. In June, an August decision date was set. But by October there'd been no decision announced. Pretending to pursue fast-train options or pie-in-the-sky at Kurnell was just another way of doing nothing ( particularly when such fast-train options collapsed as spectacularly as did the Holsworthy option). December 12th 2000 revealed the government's long-held intent: dump it on Bankstown.

Expansion of KSA will require transfer of large commercial jets to Bankstown Airport and other general aviation airports in the Sydney basin (see Dana Dumps on Bankstown and Bankstown's Olympic Role ).

This site was established initially to fight the Holsworthy proposal, but also recognised the threat of Bankstown expansion. With the defeat of Holsworthy and the apparent back-down on Badgery's, attention must be focussed on defending Bankstown and Sydney from even more malicious airport mis-planning.

B.E.A.R. is dedicated to opposing crazy airport plans for the Sydney basin. If you want to find out more about the plans for a 24 hour international airport for Sydney, explore the links below...

The only way to get rid of the threats of ever increasing aircraft noise is to build a sustainable second airport in the right place. Lands and existing airports within the Sydney Basin are not the right place.

See survey to have your say on where you think is right. Then write to our politicians and tell them how to set it right.

Sydney Airports Corporation

SAC is operator of Sydney's international Kingsford Smith Airport (KSA), and parent company of Bankstown Airport Limited, the operator of Sydney's general aviation airport. See Sydney Airport Media Centre for SAC's pro-airport media information.

SAC is owned by the Federal Minister for Finance. At the time Badgery's was dumped, the Minister for Finance was Mr John Fahey, whose electorate enclosed the formerly proposed site for the second international airport at Badgerys Creek. Fahey retired from politics due to ill-health at the 2001 Federal election, but continues to have influence.

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