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MELBOURNE Airport’s departing boss says the Tullamarine Freeway will be a traffic logjam within 10 years without an airport rail link.
Chris Woodruff, whose eight years as CEO ends today, said even with extra lanes the road would be “as squeezy if not more squeezy as today”.
In an exclusive interview with the Herald Sun he said:
AVALON needed to remain an airport;
PARKING fees at Tullamarine were “reasonable”;
TERROR will pose new challenges but current security arrangements were “as good as can be”;
NEW airlines are knocking on Melbourne’s door to be based here.
The Labor Government dumped the Liberals’ plan to build an airport rail link, opting to build the Melbourne Metro Rail Project.
Mr Woodruff said not even the $1.3 billion upgrade of Tullamarine Freeway and CityLink would be able to handle increasing passenger numbers, tipped to reach 65 million in 20 years.
“The roads, as they are currently, will run out of capacity by 2020, and by the mid-2020s it’s going to be as squeezy if not more squeezy as today,” he said.
But Mr Woodruff said he was hopeful the government would change its mind and build the rail link.
“My impression is they believe it’s a long-term necessity to keep the airport growing and I am confident with that,” he said.
Melbourne Airport reaped $126 million from passengers who used its car parks last financial year, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
But Mr Woodruff said without that revenue the $2.5 billion investment in the airport over the last seven years would not have been possible.
“Our prices are reasonable and are set to market,” he said.
Under Mr Woodruff, Melbourne secured new airlines, locked in approvals for new roads and a third runway, and grew passenger numbers by 45 per cent.
“I think our kit bag is packed to continue to grow and be successful,” he said.
As the search for his successor continues, Mr Woodruff said he would go on an overseas family holiday before deciding on his next venture.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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