A DECISION on whether Sydney will get a new airport, and where it will be built, moves a step closer today with the release of the new draft Master Plan for Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport.
The Plan, along with a joint federal-state government report released last year, will help guide federal government deliberations.
Transport Minister Warren Truss has previously said that a decision on Badgerys Creek will only occur after he has seen the Sydney Airport plan for the next 20 years.
The Kingsford Smith Master Plan suggests that there is no need for another Sydney airport until 2045.
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However, Mr Truss, who has expressed opposition to Badgerys Creek in the past, told The Daily Telegraph yesterday, that the site 50 kilometres west of the CBD is still a “strong contender”.
Last year’s joint NSW-federal government study said Badgerys Creek was “remains the best site for an additional major Regular Public Transport airport”.
And last month The Daily Telegraph reported that Prime Minister Tony Abbott had indicated to several senior colleagues that he favoured Badgerys Creek.
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It is expected that a decision on a second airport will now be made early in the New Year.
A spokesman for Mr Truss confirmed that the Badgerys Creek option was still in play.
“Badgerys Creek was chosen as the best site decades ago and is government-owned,” the spokesman said.
“There is no perfect site, but Badgerys Creek remains a very strong contender.”
The spokesman for Mr Truss said the Sydney Airport draft Master Plan will help guide the government’s decision on when a second airport will be required.
“But it is not the only consideration,” the spokesman said.
“The need for a second Sydney airport will need to be judged on its merits, including the wider national interest case around economic and employment benefits.”
The Sydney Airport Master Plan states that it expects the number of passengers flying in and out of Kingsford Smith each year to reach more than 74 million by 2033.
Aircraft movements will jump from 321,630 to close to 410,000 in the next 20 years, the Plan predicts.
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It also suggests that without changes to the runways, the 11pm to 6am curfew and the cap on 80 aircraft movements an hour, another airport for Sydney will not be required until 2045.
Only 63 per cent of the available landing and takeoff “slots” are currently being used. It said even though passenger numbers have increased by 50 per cent since 2000, aircraft movements have grown by less than 10 per cent.
The Master Plan said Sydney Airport will become efficient and increase capacity by allowing domestic aircraft to use the international terminal in quiet periods and international flights to leave and arrive from the domestic terminal.
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If the Master Plan is accepted, Sydney Airport will also reconfigure road access to ease traffic congestion around the domestic and international terminals.
Mr Truss now has a maximum of 60 business days to consider the draft Master Plan. Under the Airports Act 1996, he can either approve or refuse to approve the draft master plan for Kingsford Smith.
Source: News Ltd.