The Realities of Remaining Competitive: speakers at the PATA Hub City Forum Sydney on 12 February addressed the issue of congestion at Sydney airport and the need for a new secondary airport to ease constraints. It was pointed out by aviation expert Peter Harbison that this issue was first raised by the government in January 1969 and was considered ‘urgent’ back then. As he quite rightly pointed out, “If it was ‘urgent’ then, the situation 44 years on is now ‘critical’.”
Following Mr Harbison, Shelly Roberts, Director of Aviation at Sydney Airport concurred that this was a critical issue but eloquently explained that the problems had more to do with ‘political constraints” rather than one of airport constraints.
The current model for aircraft movement at Sydney is inefficient and needs a complete overhaul to ensure capacity is reached especially during shoulder or off peak periods. She vented frustration at the current curfew restrictions which only two weeks prior had seen aircraft turned back due to bad weather as their recalculated arrival time was 23.05. Five minutes beyond the curfew cut-off. This left travellers stranded with no hotels at midnight. Far from ideal.
Speaking ahead of the release of their 2020 master plan she said that partnerships were key to finding the solutions to the growing issue—partnerships and the urgent need to cut red tape and bureaucracy. Great strides have already been made regarding plans to integrate terminal operations and planned changes to road infrastructure.
The program was designed to be short and sharp and cover a ranges of subjects which, when combined, highlighted the integrated and complex nature of the industry.
The day’s program ended with Andrew McEvoy, Managing Director of Tourism Australia giving an insight into how TA factor these issues into their forward thinking and planning to ensure they have the capacity and knowhow to ensure they reach their targets to 2020 and beyond.
Hub City Forum Sydney had the working title: “Cost, Congestion, Competition – The realities of remaining competitive.”