ACCC warns of growing congestion at Australia's airports

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Australia’s competition watchdog has warned that Australia’s main gateway airports are likely to see more congestion in the short term as a result of under-investment in infrastructure.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sounded the warning as it released its latest airport monitoring report, which tracks the performance of Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney airports.

The report found that all four airports were profitable, though Brisbane only received a ‘satisfactory’ rating for service quality. It also noted that there were continued signs of congestion across the four airports.

“It is likely that the current infrastructure at monitored airports will be under increasing pressure in future years given evidence of aeronautical and landside congestion at some airports,” says ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

While the ACCC noted that the four airports have continued to invest, it questioned whether the "type, size and timing of the investments" are sufficient to avoid growing airside and landside congestion.

All four airports have foreshadowed long-term capital works projects in their master plans, with Brisbane and Melbourne planning to invest in new runways to accommodate their projected growth.

In the case of Sydney, the Australian government has committed to making a decision on a site for a second airport within the next few years. A number of studies have shown that the airport will not be able to handle the forecast increase in passenger and aircraft movements over the long term.