Jul 21, 2012

Sydney Aviation Capacity Scoping Study Gets Underway

The Federal Government has appointed technical experts and consultants for a scoping study into Wilton’s suitability as a second Sydney Airport.

The scoping study will involve detailed economic, social and environmental investigations to assess the impact and viability of an airport at Wilton.

It will also explore the use of RAAF Base Richmond for limited civil operations, including any social, economic and environmental impacts.

The clear finding of the independent Joint Study on Aviation Capacity in the Sydney Region is that Sydney needs a second airport – sooner rather than later.

The main purpose of the study is to identify as early as possible the challenges and the opportunities of any airport development.

It is important that a proper investigation take place prior to any final decisions being made.

While these investigations take place, I am also determined to make sure there is proper consultation and engagement with the community.

I have written to local governments and local Members of Parliament this week informing them of the scoping study.

Further I have asked senior representatives from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport to meet and engage with major stakeholders – something they have already started to do.

The following consultants have been appointed: 

  • WorleyParsons, in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Airport Master Planning consultants, will conduct a detailed assessment of environmental and infrastructure aspects near Wilton;
  • Ernst and Young will conduct a thorough examination of the scale and nature of impacts of an airport development on the surrounding Wilton and Richmond communities, including factors such as aircraft noise, opportunities for employment and infrastructure investment; and
  • Both of these studies will be supported by passenger demand analysis undertaken by Booz and Company.

The scoping study is expected to take at least six months.

A second airport will bring economic benefits to local communities, the state and the nation by creating thousands of jobs and unlocking billions of dollars in investment.

With passenger numbers expected to double by 2035, we know that Sydney’s current aviation infrastructure will not cope with demand.

The economic cost of doing nothing is substantial. 

If a second airport is not built, our national economy will suffer as congestion grows and flights and economic investment are turned away.

Unmet demand for aviation in Sydney will cost the national economy $35 billion by 2060. This means giving up the chance to create nearly 78,000 jobs across the country.

Already, we are seeing major problems arising from a lack of aviation infrastructure in Sydney.  For example:

  • Right now, on weekdays, there is no scope for new regional services during the morning and afternoon peaks, that is, for eight and a half of the 17 hours that the airport operates daily;
  • In just three years (2015), there will be no take-off and landing slots available for any new services during peak times;
  • Road and rail access to Sydney Airport is already approaching gridlock.  By next year, morning peak trains will be at capacity before they reach the airport stations and the road network will be at capacity by 2015; and
  • By 2020, a delay at Sydney Airport during the morning peak would have flow-on effects for around 500 flights affecting every major capital city airport.