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This is an archived file, and many of the links are broken.  cm august 2000.


Aircraft are the latest and greatest symbol of the machine age.  On page 37 of the Transportation (October 1997) issue of Scientific American is a graph of projected per capita traffic volume as a function of average national income.  The graph shows that as income rises, so does distance travelled.  The graph is part of an article by A.Schafer & D. Victor on "Global Mobility" and forecasts that high speed transport will account for 25% of passenger miles in 2020, up from 9% in 1990.  High speed transport is aircraft or very fast train.

In Sydney Australia there is furore about aircraft noise.  Sydney airport is within five kilometers of the city center, and aircraft movements are over densely populated areas.  The federal government (which controls airports) has just rescheduled air traffic that previously annoyed the seagulls of Botany Bay and sent it over the most densely settled part of Sydney. (The Kings Cross - Woollahra section).  The "No Airports" political party fails to see the necessity of airports in Sydney Basin.  (I think I am beginning to agree with them).  The inhabitants of Badgery's Creek in Western Sydney (where the government proposes to open a second airport) do not want an airport either.

Below are catalogued the disadvantages of airports in cities, and reasons for concentrating airports in remote locations.

  1. Aeroplanes spread disease.  The first defence against the expected pandemics of the third millenium will be restrictions on rapid international travel.  Placing international airports in remote areas would simplify any quarantine procedures found necessary.
  2. Aircraft are beginning to regularly fly into the ground near airports.  It does not seem like a very good idea to have densely populated areas near airports.
  3. Airports are unwelcome additions in any city.  They are noisy and smelly.  An Australian federal government that promised to move all commercial airports out of the Sydney basin might well earn itself an extra handful of seats in the Representatives & an extra seat in the Senate.  Melbourne people might well feel the same way.
  4. International tourism would be only marginally affected if airports were relocated to remote areas.  One international airport for South-eastern Australia near Condobolin NSW should suffice.  Condobolin is about equidistant from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and Adelaide, and is sparsely settled.  Very fast (250 MPH) trains could deliver passengers within two or three hours to the major cities. Sightseeing tourists could start their holiday in "outback" Australia.
  5. Aeroplanes produce massive pollution and consume enormous amounts of energy.  I have not calculated exact figures, but aeroplanes appear to consume about half as much energy as is used to provide the total electricity budget for Australia.
FACTS ABOUT AEROPLANES. DEDUCTIONS FROM THE FACTS. CAVEATS Suggested solution?  Use suitable tax breaks, and initiate a Very Fast Train project linking Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane & Sydney to an International airport in Central NSW.  Turn existing city airports into parks.  Australia could probably manage with two international airports, one about central NSW (near Condobolin), the other at a suitable distance from Perth.  Intranational flights should be limited to between towns with small populations.

Updated 23 December 1997 , This update 23 February 1998. (modifications on 8 March 98)
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