Virgin CEO: “Flying out of reach financially” if caps & curfew introduced

$1billion dollar economic hit to QLD & more than 9000 jobs at risk

Virgin Australia Chief Executive Officer Jayne Hrdlicka has warned the impact of caps and curfews at Brisbane Airport would push the cost of tickets “out of reach financially” for a lot of people and have a huge impact on the community. 

The airline boss says “it’s incredibly important for us as an industry that we’re really respectful of the community,” but warned “give and take” would be necessary if everybody is to “have the ability to move around the country”. 

“And the challenge is that if you reduce the capacity that’s available out of an airport then you reduce the amount of supply in and out of that airport and that means the prices are going to go up because there won’t be enough supply to meet the demand.  And then I would hate to see that get to an extreme place because that means that it’s really difficult to fly around the country and it would have an economic impact on the country, and it would have a huge impact on the community, because it would mean that a lot of people find the option of flying out of reach financially.” 

The Virgin Australia executive was speaking in Brisbane at a BNE Enterprise function that represents some of the 425 businesses in the Brisbane Airport precinct that employ 24,000 people, with that number forecast to rise to 60,000 by 2050. 

The CEO of Brisbane Airport, Gert-Jan de Graaff, revealed for the first time, the financial hit Queensland would take if caps and curfews were introduced. 

“The noise issue is real. People living on the flight path, they are experiencing things that they don’t like; they don’t want. But caps and curfews are not the answer. Curfews, closing the airport during the night, has significant consequences, economic consequences as well as operational consequences. And it will not do the trick (to solve the problem) because during the night we are operating more than 60% of all flights over the bay and we’re only using the legacy runway, so it’s not the newly exposed people that are experiencing any noise during the night. 

Caps are very significant because they will constrain the airport - period. And therefore that will cap the growth and the opportunity of what we are able to deliver the state of Queensland. We’re calculating that at about $1 billion yearly as the impact on the community and more than 9000 jobs that it would cost, so we think there are much better ways to manage that noise exposure. 

Recently Trax International did a report they presented to Airservices Australia with very good opportunities they identified to improve the situation. I think the focus should be on implementing those improvements, and through that way, improve the situation for the residents in Brisbane while maintaining the capacity of the airport and the opportunities that the airport delivers to the state and city to further grow and develop.” 

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