Air stats stir up airport row

By admin


Minister for infrastructure and transport Anthony Albanese has stressed the need for a second Sydney airport, as record figures released by the government revealed more Australians were flying than ever before.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ annual reports on international and domestic airline activity showed Australian and international airlines carried more than 82 million passengers last year.

International passenger numbers grew 5% in 2011 to more than 28 million, above the Asia Pacific average of 4.3%.

Meanwhile, domestic passenger numbers climbed just 0.6% to more than 54 million for the year as the grounding of Tiger, Qantas and the Chilean ash cloud took their toll. Growth was driven by regional services supported by the mining boom with Newcastle to Melbourne up 16%, Brisbane to Mackay up 14% and Perth to Port Hedland up 12%.

“Flying is today five times more affordable than it was 20 years ago, thanks to greater competition and the rise of low-cost airlines,” Albanese said. “The number of passengers flown by low-cost carriers alone has grown nearly four-fold in the last five years.”

Sydney remained the busiest airport for international passengers but its growth was less than that of other Australian capital cities with Melbourne and Adelaide growing four times faster with 9.9% and 9.5% respectively.

“These facts highlight both the economic impact and the consequences for airlines and passengers if they can’t get access to Sydney in the future,” he said. “The fact is that Sydney needs a second airport to handle growing international and domestic demand and create jobs in the economy.”

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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