Macquarie Airports have lost it Entirely

As if Sydney Airport (YSSY) being voted Australia’s worst airport for the 4th time in a row wasn’t enough of a wake up call for Macquarie Airports and the airport’s management & board, the government is bringing forward their oversite review of YSSY from 2012 to now (admittedly with a pending election, but anyhow…). The ACCC is also going to investigate whether airports are abusing their monopoly positions (if you’ve parked your car at YSSY or YMML, then you probably have a good idea that the answer will be yes).

Unfortunately, Macquaire Airports don’t seem to be listening though and continue to try to milk every last drop they can from YSSY. If it’s not sky high parking or the most expensive “per passenger” fees levied on the airlines, they’re now increasing their aircraft parking rates to the point where it could cost as much to park a SAAB 340 as it costs to park an A380.

Like, hello! No wonder the airlines are joining in the push for an investigation.

I’ve been saying for ages that Macquarie Airports and the senior management of Sydney Airport are a stirling example of how bad corporate management is becoming these days. Focusing purely on the bottom line and fearing anything out of the ordinary, these people are showing that management by bean counters only serves to reinforce the old joke that there’s only one letter of difference between bankers & wankers.

Sadly, the latest news I’ve received makes me realise that they’ve sunk to even greater depths.

As of June 30th, the one unique thing that YSSY has over all other airports in the world will no longer exist. Airport management are going to shut down one of the few things YSSY has that actually helps people appreciate the wonders of a modern international airport (as opposed to considering it a noisy, stinking polluted blight on their neighbourhood as many seem to).

That’s right, they’re not going to extend the contract for Sydney Airport’s Airside Tarmac Tours. Can you believe it?

Airside Tarmac Tours have been providing a service to the public for years. For a small fee they are taken into the airport’s hallowed movement areas to experience its daily operations from a very up-close and personal vantage point. Providing a running commentary of all that is being seen, the passengers get a deeper understanding of what’s involved in keeping an airport operating as well as getting access to views most people never see.

Airside Tarmac Tours are frequently taking groups of school children around, perhaps fueling the aviation dreams of kids who may one day grow up to be pilots, ground staff or even airline executives. They also take tours of somewhat bigger, older kids around who often regress to an earlier stage when they get up close to a 747 as it taxis past.

All passengers must go through multiple security checks and photo ID is required for adults. No cameras can be taken nor any other bulky items. Strict but fair given proximity to aircraft in action.

Unfortunately, Sydney Airport management have decided that in these post 9-11 times, it is no longer safe to allow this operation to continue. Hiding behind the facade of “Safety & Security,” they are going to shut it down. This is despite the fact that the tours have continued to run smoothly after September 2001, bringing countless benefits to the airport in the public relations department.

Sadly, it would appear that not even the federal government are willing or able to help save the tours. People have called & written to the airport CEO but to no avail. It would appear that the Macquarie name carries too much weight within Australia for anyone to be willing to make them see the error of their ways.

This is truly sad news for Sydney Airport as they are losing a very unique source of much needed PR in these difficult times. They are accused of cutting services while charging higher prices for everything associated with the airport. They sit on prime inner city real estate and are a continued source of noise complaints as aircraft come & go (often from people who have only recently moved into areas near the airport or under flight paths). Already dealing with capacity issues, Sydney is in danger of losing its “Gateway to Australia” status as more & more international flights are going instead to other airports around Australia. The last thing Macquarie Airports should be doing is closing an operation that tries to make them look good.

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2 Responses to Macquarie Airports have lost it Entirely

  1. Julien says:

    Ben Sandilands had a good write-up on the closure of Airside Tarmac Tours too. I took the tour a while ago, it is very professionally done and enjoyable, even for people familiar with aircraft and airports. Very sad to see it go.

  2. Falcon124 says:

    Yes, Ben’s write-up was great and that plus some comments on boards around the place led me to follow-up on the topic in the hopes they’d received a reprieve. Sadly, no.

    I must admit I left it over 6 hours before I wrote this entry so I could cool down a bit. I also had to re-edit it and hold back on what I really wanted to write about SACL’s senior management & MAp *sigh*

    I’m planning a trip north to Sydney so I can be on one of the tours in June. Fingers crossed :)

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