High-Speed Rail Necessary as Airport Patronage Increases

Significant growth in domestic patronage at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport underscores the need for a high-speed rail (HSR) link between Australia’s largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney.  

New figures released by the Melbourne Airport corporation reveal that an additional 1,763,367 extra domestic passengers visited the airport in 2010—an increase of 9 per cent in one single year. The overall total increase in passengers passing through the airport (which includes international visitors) also adds weight to the urgent need for a rail link between Tullamarine and the centre of Melbourne. 

The Melbourne to Sydney air route is already one of the world’s busiest domestic routes. Any reduction in flights between the two cities will bring substantial carbon reductions over time. Due to inaction on the high-speed rail front, low-budget carrier Jetstar added additional Melbourne-Sydney services to meet growing demand. 

The construction of a Melbourne-Sydney high-speed rail link would not only lift the stress off an increasingly busy Tullamarine, it would also deliver significant social and economic benefits such as the creation of thousands of jobs.  

It will also keep Australians connected as the aviation industry faces a future of dwindling oil supplies and vastly higher oil prices. The aviation industry is sensitive to oil price spikes. At climate talks in Cancun last December, entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson predicted that oil prices could reach $US 200 a barrel. This comes only a few months after admitting “the next five years will see us face another crunch…the oil crunch.” 

Beyond Zero Emissions Executive Director Matthew Wright says that “to ensure our future transport security, commonwealth and state governments must collaborate with the private sector to build vital transport infrastructure. The Melbourne to Sydney high-speed rail link is long overdue.”  

By Josh G