Sydney airport backs tourism group’s call to ease slot restrictions

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Sydney airport has backed a report by a tourism lobby group that calls for the relaxation of some restrictions on the airport.

The report by the Tourism and Transport Forum says that small changes to existing operating restrictions would unlock productivity and attract more airlines to fly to Sydney, according to the airport.

"Sydney airport has the capacity and the infrastructure to service Sydney as its primary airport, it's just not being fully utilised due to a range of restrictions that don't reflect modern aviation," says chief executive Kerrie Mather.

Presently, the airport has a cap of 80 movements per hour and a rigid curfew between the hours of 11pm and 6am each night.

The airport says that allowing 11 additional services during the shoulder period each week would double the number of slots a year. It adds that these services would have minimal impact on residents under the flight path as modern aircraft are much quieter than previous generations.

The airport has also backed a recommendation that other airports in the Sydney basin, including the present Royal Australian Air Force base at Richmond, should be utilised prior to the building of a second airport, which will be required from 2045 when Sydney is expected to reach capacity.

The Australian government is expected to soon release a feasibility study on building a second airport at a site in Wilton, southwest of Sydney, something which the current airport has also supported.

"Like other two-airport cities overseas, a second airport in Sydney would work to complement Sydney airport," says Mather.