Transport Minister Anthony Albanese.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. File

Regional airlines in jeopardy

PEOPLE with vested interests want to keep flights from regional New South Wales out of Sydney Airport.

That is the view of Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese, who in an opinion piece written exclusively for the Daily News, argues regional airports could be the first casualty if a second airport is not built in the State's capital.

Mr Albanese writes that the current Sydney airport is already closed for regional flights for more than half of every week day, restricting travel options for regional New South Wales.

"I know this is an uncomfortable fact but it cannot be ignored, particularly not by people living in regional NSW," he said.

"Here is why, right now, on weekdays, there are no landing and take-off slots left for new regional services within NSW during 8½ of the 17 hours the airport operates, namely between 6.30am and 11am and between 4pm and 8pm. None.

"Consider this: a regional flight, on average, carries 30 passengers, compared with 140 passengers for every domestic city flight. It is an easy calculation for those looking to maximise profits to simply get rid of smaller regional aircraft and concentrate on larger aircraft."

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says he has no plans to pursue a second airport in the city.



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