REGIONAL NSW has slammed recommendations for Sydney's aviation future - saying it would be easier to fly from overseas.
Despite regional NSW relying on air travel for business and even medical appointments, latest reports threaten getting small planes out west, the Daily Telegraph reports.
If recommendations contained within the Joint Study on Aviation Capacity for the Sydney Region were adopted, the expansion of NSW rural and regional air services into Sydney would be permanently blocked, Gunnedah mayor Adam Marshall yesterday said.
The council is urging local MPs to lobby Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Premier Barry O'Farrell to reject report recommendations that would only protect existing runway slots for regional passenger services.
After 2015, only planes with more than 50 seats would be given access to Sydney and by 2020 only planes with more than 70 seats would be permitted.
Mr Marshall said regional airlines, including REX Airlines, Aeropelican and Brindabella, did not have any aircraft with more than 50 seats.
"From the perspective of expanding or improving NSW rural and regional air passenger services this report is a killer - it's as if they simply don't want any more people west of the divide to be able to fly into Sydney in the future," Mr Marshall said.
"Communities such as Gunnedah would stand absolutely no chance of ever re-acquiring an air service into Sydney Airport ... under this regime, after 2020, it may well be easier to access Sydney by air from overseas than from regional NSW - that's simply not good enough."
Air links to Sydney were essential in regional NSW for economic development, business, tourism and even medical appointments, Mr Marshall said.
"Any new regional air services will be locked out and forced to fly to a second Sydney airport, if one is established, or simply prevented from getting off the ground in the first place," he said.
"Instead, it's clearly stated the priority is for increased passenger throughput at Sydney Airport there's more money to be made in having larger aircraft with more passengers land compared with smaller planes which service regional communities."
Read more at the Daily Telegraph.