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Regional access to Sydney Airport guaranteed.



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13 December 2000 A198/2000

REGIONAL ACCESS TO SYDNEY AIRPORT GUARANTEED

National Party Leader John Anderson today said continuing access for regional airlines to Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport has been guaranteed in the Sydney airports package announced by the Federal Government.

Mr Anderson, the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, said the decision recognised that Sydney Airport is an essential transport hub for regional New South Wales.

“The Government has decided to grandfather the dedicated landing and take-off slots currently held by regional airlines at Sydney Airport so that continuing access is guaranteed,” Mr Anderson said.

“In addition, the current pricing regime for regional airlines will be maintained, even after the airport is privatised, so that they cannot be forced out by an underhand policy of the landlord upping the rent.”

Mr Anderson said the decision meant that people in country NSW would continue to have convenient access to their state capital via an extensive network of regional air services.

“While Sydney Airport is Australia’s major international gateway, it has an equally important role as a transport link between regional NSW and Sydney, especially for business travellers.”

Mr Anderson said that in recognition of the growing air traffic demand at Sydney Airport, the Government had decided to cap regional slots at current levels during the peak periods.

He said the regional pricing regime and the Slot Management Scheme were introduced by the Liberal-National Government to protect regional interests by guaranteeing them access to the airport at reasonable prices.

Under the Slot Management Scheme, the allocation of new (unused) slots will favour RPT (regular public transport) airlines proposing to operate larger aircraft. We will establish a minimum aircraft seat limit for allocating new slots, with the limit to be determined in consultation with industry. No existing services will be affected.

Outside the peak hours of 6 to 11am and 3 to 8pm on weekdays, the regional airlines will be free to bid for new slots, but they will be subject to the new rules about aircraft size.

Mr Anderson said the Government had decided to privatise the Sydney airports.

The Sydney Airports Corporation will be split into two companies, one operating Kingsford Smith Airport and the other operating Bankstown, Hoxton Park and Camden airports.

He said the new owner of Bankstown would be encouraged to develop it as an “overflow” airport to take excess traffic from Kingsford Smith, with an extended runway and new terminal facilities.

Bankstown will be able to offer attractive services and pricing arrangements that will encourage airline operators to run services out of Western Sydney.

“The critical point, however, is that current access to Kingsford Smith Airport is guaranteed for regional airlines. If they choose to operate services out of Bankstown, that is a matter entirely for their commercial judgement.”

“The new arrangements for Sydney air services are a sound outcome for regional NSW - access to our gateway airport has been secured and there will not be any clever pricing arrangements put in place to force them out to Bankstown.”

 

Media contact: Paul Chamberlin 02 62777680

 

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2000 Last updated:  Wednesday, 13 December 2000