Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The airport debate

A story in today's Sydney Morning Herald links nicely with one in yesterday's Gulf News.

The SMH has yet more talk about a second Sydney airport, something that's been talked about for as long as I can remember but about which nothing has ever happened.

This time the report is  "Is Canberra Airport a viable substitute for a second Sydney airport, or is it imperative a new facility be built?"

Gulf News reports that the government of Dubai is creating a corporation "that will help the emirate leverage its expertise in master-planning and developing world-class airports in and outside the country...The corporation will also be responsible for supervising the construction of airports and facilities, developing currently operating airports and carrying out infrastructure services they require."

We need to give them a call.  They certainly do have  expertise in master-planning and developing world-class airports.

Sydney's airport is a disgrace - old, tired, grubby, out-of-date, far too small, lacking facilities, and everything from parking to a cup of coffee is far too costly. It gives a bad first impression of the cityand the country. It's not even close to good enough for today let alone the future.

Get on a flight at SYD and disembark at DXB to compare what we've got with what we should have. DXB is modern, bright, clean, efficient, a great first impression for the city.

In a few short years Dubai's become the world's fourth largest airport for international passenger traffic. Ten years ago it wasn't even in the top thirty. It can now handle airport 60 million passengers a year and 2012 is on target to achieve 56.5 million passengers. Capacity is being expanded to 75 million passengers by next year. 

It's also the world's sixth busiest cargo traffic airport, with nearly 2.5 million tonnes of cargo handled.

There are over 27,000 aircraft movements a month, from 130 airlines.

And Dubai Duty Free has in less the less than thirty years of its existence become the single largest airport retailer in the world with an annual turnover of more than one and a half billion dollars.

But that's not all. A second airport, about 40km from the original and planned for the needs over the next 50 years, already has phase one completed and operational.

The first runway, A380 compatible and 4.5 kilometres long, was completed within its planned 600 day construction period.  Phase One can handle 600,000 tonnes of freight per annum and operates 24 hours a day. There are 64 aircraft stands, a state-of-the-art ATC Tower, fire stations, a 66,000 square metre passenger terminal and all the other necessary infrastructure.

Eventually it will be the world’s largest airport, able to handle 120 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of freight a year.

The airport is just one part of what will eventually be a vast aviation, logistics, commercial, exhibitions and residential city with free zones and even a golf resort.

A company was formed to get it all 2006. Yep, six years ago they decided to start planning it and it's already up and running.

Meanwhile the endless talking about what to do with SYD goes on, talking being our politicians' usual preference to actually doing something.

The two stories I refer to are here:
 Sydney Morning Herald
 Gulf News

And if you're interested, the website for the new project/airport is here


Keefieboy said...

Good luck to them but as you know, construction in the UAE is a very different beast from in the rest of the world: the only planning law is 'the top Sheikh wants it done', and the work is done by thousands of incredibly poorly-paid workers. And, of course, the brain stuff is done by world-class international consultants.

Seabee said...

True Keefie, but there's also the willingness to look at what's needed for the future, willingness to make decisions, willingness to get things done.

Very different from our pollies whose only consideration is to retain power at the next election. That's as far as foward planning goes. Making the decisions we need doesn't come into it.

BTW, I've never agreed with the 'incredibly poorly paid' thing. Wages are based largely on wages in the worker's home country, as you know. So, eg, an eastern european will be paid less than a western european, sub-cons & Filipinos less again. But all are getting several times their base rate back home.

You may remember it's a subject I've often posted about on 'Life in Dubai'. Another example - our apartment block security man's contract ended and he was having to go back to Nepal. He desperately tried to find another job here because he was so much better off than back home. His wages here were Dh500 a month and he lived in a windowless meter cupboard in the building.

Incredibly poor by our standards I agree, but not by his.