During an unprecedented week in which our aviation industry has been locked in a desperate battle for it’s survival, Canberra Airport have chosen to announce the closure of the cross runway 12/30, using the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and ‘a downturn in aircraft movements’ to justify it – I am calling bullshit.
Canberra Airport’s Head of Aviation, Mr Michael Thomson; “The decision to close Runway 12/30 was not made lightly but reflect the significant fall in aircraft movements at Canberra Airport and these challenging times”.
The closure came into effect 5am, 3rd April 2020.
Given the current situation, onlookers could almost be excused for thinking the closure makes sense, except that it doesn’t. It’s not about coronavirus, nor is it about aircraft movements, that’s just a convenient decoy.
Take a look at the graphic in the headline of this article. It’s a google earth image of the Canberra Airport showing runway 12/30. Now take a look at the graphic below, which shows what happens when Canberra Airport runway 13/30 no longer exists.
So, do you believe that coronavirus COVID-19 and a downturn in aircraft movements are the reason for the Canberra Airport runway 12/30 closure?
I am sure someone famous once said… ‘Never let a disaster stand in the way of creating opportunity’ and I fear that’s exactly what we are witnessing here.
Should Canberra Airport runway 12/30 be closed and removed, it will directly compromise aviation safety and will reward the airport operators with hundreds of millions in commercial property developments.
During a time when our industry is fighting for it’s very survival, we have Canberra Airport closing an essential runway, reducing aviation safety and making access for general aviation harder. How do these actions help Australia? How will these actions help us kick-start aviation again?
How much money have the Australian people pumped into Canberra Airport to assist with it’s development since Privatisation? And importantly, what do we now have to show for that investment?
I dare say, that it appears that Canberra Airport are hoping that this closure will slip through unnoticed during a time of national disaster and crisis, without facing any opposition from the Government.
Shameful stuff indeed.
AOPA Australia has written to the Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, and is calling on all members of government to oppose the closure of Canberra Airport runway 13/30 and for Australia’s aviation infrastructure to be protected.