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Flights may be diverted

Saturday, 24th December, 2011

By Erica Visser

A leaked report has revealed that Rex flights may be forced to land at Bankstown Airport because Sydney’s main airport is filled to capacity.

The report cited Bankstown and Richmond airports as options for expansion into a  hub for country services such as Rex and Qantas Jetlink.

The report comes after years of speculation over whether Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport had reached capacity. 

But Mayor Wincen Cuy said that the Bankstown airport was an “unacceptable” option.

He said the Broken Hill flight needed to land close to Sydney proper.

“It’s unacceptable. Bankstown as an alternate for us is just not an option,” the mayor said.

“It would add so much time to journeys anywhere else in Australia.

“You’re talking about most business transactions and most visitors when they visit Sydney are basically talking about going to the CBD.

“The only way it would be acceptable to rural Australia would be a very fast train link to the airport and to the city.”

Bankstown is about 20 kilometres from Sydney’s CBD and a train takes nearly an hour to reach the CBD. 

Rex has a history of arguments with Sydney airport over the state of country and domestic flights.

Earlier this month Rex complained that a proposed airport revamp would have negative effects for regional travellers.

“From our past experience in dealing with Sydney Airport, it had always been the regional carriers and communities that had been short changed in any of their major initiatives,” said Rex’s Executive Chairman, Lim Kim Hai.

“As the old Swahili saying goes, ‘when elephants make love, it is the grass that gets trampled on.’”

He said that the plan would mean that people who travel with Rex and need to catch another domestic flight would have difficulty as the terminal will be separated.

“On the face of it, the main casualty will be the regional travellers seeking to connect on to domestic services and vice versa,” he said.

“Currently there is a seamless connection to all the domestic carriers.

“Under the proposed plan some of the connections will entail transiting to another terminal which will add on considerable time and inconvenience especially for the transfer of luggage.

“Obviously this will have an impact on the competitive positions of all the local carriers.”

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