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AIRPORT rail link bosses in Sydney and Brisbane have hit out at Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky over her claims their companies are a drain on the taxpayer.
Announcing the new Skybus contract last week, Ms Kosky said the two airport rail links were unprofitable and a burden on taxpayers.
"Both Brisbane and Sydney have put in rail routes through to the airport; both are running at a loss," Ms Kosky said.
"So that means that the taxpayers in both NSW and in Queensland are actually paying for the rail service."
Sydney Airport Link chief executive John Wilson said the service was operating at a profit. Earlier losses were borne by private investors, not taxpayers, he explained.
"The business is financially successful, and is a viable model for any government looking to build a rail link between a major city and its airport," Mr Wilson said.
Brisbane Airtrain general manager Chris Basche said his service was also profitable.
"It is profitable, reliable and is not subsidised by Queensland taxpayers," Mr Basche said.
The Sydney service went into receivership months after it started operations in 2000, while Brisbane's also struggled financially in its first few years.
A spokesman for Ms Kosky, Stephen Moynihan, yesterday clarified the minister's comments, saying: "Brisbane and Sydney both suffered difficulties with their airport rail links.
"The Brumby Government is satisfied with the increasing patronage and frequency of services of Skybus at this time."
An airport rail link was an earlier government promise that was shelved after advice concluded it would be unviable.
Premier John Brumby said last month a rail link was inevitable in the longer term, but not on the agenda at present.
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