Mayor pushes airport access

A PROPOSAL to shift all regional airlines to Bankstown Airport could have a negative impact on the Clarence Valley economy, according to Clarence Valley Mayor, Richie Williamson.

Councillor Williamson said the Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) had made a strong submission to the Federal Government's green paper on aviation policy that regional air services should be relocated to Bankstown and/or the current quarantined regional slots at Sydney Airport should be released to the larger airlines.

In a mayoral minute to be delivered to a meeting of the full council tomorrow, Cr Williamson will call on fellow councillors for their support to try to block the move.

He has recommended the council make representations through the Country Mayors Association, the Shires Association and 'other appropriate bodies to gather support for the retention of the access to the Sydney Airport peak time slots, by flights from regional New South Wales'.

He has also recommended that the council make representations to the Member for Page, Janelle Saffin, seeking her support for the retention of regional flights into Sydney and for quarantined regional slots at Sydney Airport to be maintained.

Rex Airlines, which provides flights from Grafton to Sydney, has also made a submission opposing the Sydney Airport Corporation Limited (SACL) proposal and Cr Williamson will call on fellow councillors to back the move.

“It is my belief that this (restricting regional airlines' access to Sydney Airport) would have a negative effect on regional service levels that are experienced by Clarence Valley residents flying into Sydney and could have a further negative effect on our local economy,” he said.

He said Rex Airlines contended that the SACL had an obligation to continue to provide access to Sydney Airport for regional passengers, which was incumbent upon them when they bought the lease for the route.

He said regional Australia should have full access to Sydney Airport.

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