The Australian Federal Government yesterday approved the Sydney Airport master plan, which will cover operation plans for the next 20 years. Included in this plan are way in which the airport will optimise space constraints in order to overcome congestion that is already evident.
These plans include a rearrangement of terminals from domestic/international and airline-based terminal separation to combined domestic and international operations that will bring alliance-based airlines together. This is good new for Qantas and its oneworld partners (Malaysia Airlines, Cathay Pacific and British Airways amongst them), but bad news for Virgin Australia, which only operates with a loosely-based coalition of airlines. Star Alliance is largely represented by Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines, who use this airport as a endpoint rather than a transfer hub. The same can be said for Skyteam airlines (some of the Chinese airlines, Korean Air and in the near future, Garuda Indonesia).
Also on the cards are changes to local transport options, maximising landside passenger drop-off and pickup efficiency. These changes are centred around a single ring-road serving terminals 2 and 3.
Missing from the report are solutions to more pressing issues, such as:
- Inter-terminal connectivity by dedicated light rail (a solution pressed as urgent by John Borghetti, and therefore affectionately termed Borghetti-link),
- How the master plan fits in with an inevitable second Sydney Airport, expected to be built at Badgerys Creek to the West, and due during the current master plan’s term.
These are confounding omissions, but ones that will need to be addressed in the next 5 to 10 years, regardless of the current oversight.
The report is due to be published in its final form within two months.