Does Sydney Airport need to get rid of its curfew?

AUSTRALIA’S competition watchdog is urging a review of the curfew and other flight restrictions at Sydney Airport, saying they’re likely contributing to congestion chaos.

In its submission to the Productivity Commission, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said the 11pm to 6am curfew and hourly flight caps at the country’s biggest airport should be regularly reviewed to ensure they were appropriate and reflected technological advances that reduced aircraft noise.

Along with the curfew, Sydney Airport caps runway movements at 80 per hour, which made it difficult for airlines to catch up if flights were delayed. It is the only Australian airport with movement caps, and one of only four airports in the country with a curfew.

Sydney Airport allows no more than 80 aircraft runway movements per hour. Picture: Tim HunterSource:News Limited

And it’s long been a source of frustration for tourism and airport stakeholders, AAP reported.

“It’s a balancing exercise of people whose houses are near the airport on the one hand and the travelling public,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims told ABC radio today.

“So we’re just saying things change, aircraft don’t make as much noise, and so this is something that should be regularly reviewed rather than feeling it’s a set and forget policy.”

But Kevin Hill from the Sydney Airport Community Forum said even if improved technology was making planes quieter, they still made a lot of noise.

The proposal could ease congestion at Australia’s busiest air traffic hub. Picture: Britta CampionSource:News Corp Australia

“There’s a point that says yes, aircraft are getting quieter but the point also says aircraft are getting larger and they’re getting more frequent,” he told the ABC.

Mr Hill said the curfew and movement caps needed to stay due to the airport’s proximity to the CBD and residential suburbs.

It comes weeks after the release of the Sydney Airport Master Plan 2039, which predicted passenger numbers to increase by a whopping 51 per cent to 65.6 million in the next 20 years, despite the new airport opening at Badgerys Creek in 2026.

Sydney Airport is one of only four Australian airports with a curfew. Picture: AAP/Jordan ShieldsSource:News Corp Australia

International passengers were expected to be the main driver of growth at the airport, and were much more valuable to our economy than domestic passengers, the report said.

The report proposed moving some international flights into domestic terminals to better accommodate the valuable overseas travellers.

Under the plan, international flights would be operated from the T2 and T3 domestic terminals while T1 would remain the main international terminal.

The report also discussed measures to ease congestion around Australia’s biggest air traffic hub, including improvements to parking and pedestrian access and the widening of Qantas Drive that leads to Sydney Airport.

With AAP.

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