Ex­pert warns costs of flights will con­tinue to drop as pas­sen­ger num­bers rise

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

CAN­BERRA: The cost of air travel will con­tinue to plum­met as pas­sen­ger num­bers grow, an Aus­tralian ex­pert has fore­cast yes­ter­day.

Lyell Strambi, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the Mel­bourne Air­port, said air­port in­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture such as au­to­mated ter­mi­nals was push­ing down the cost for air­lines.

“If you look at air travel pric­ing over the long run we’ll see the prices con­tin­u­ally come down and air­ports are part of that story.”

Strambi told Aus­tralian me­dia on the 20th an­niver­sary of the pri­vati­sa­tion of the Mel­bourne Air­port. “For us to be suc­cess­ful, we need air­lines to be suc­cess­ful.”

The num­ber of an­nual pas­sen­gers us­ing the Mel­bourne Air­port has more than dou­bled from 14 million in 1997 to 35 million in 2017, a trend that Strambi ex­pects to con­tinue.

He said the air­port was in the early stages of plan­ning a fifth ter­mi­nal to com­bat the rapid growth.

“If you think about the de­mand for the air­port grow­ing or dou­bling over the next 20 years, then clearly more ter­mi­nal fa­cil­i­ties are go­ing to be re­quired.”

Strambi said the group man­ag­ing the air­port had to re­main vig­i­lant and con­stantly re­view its se­cu­rity pro­ce­dures over the 20 years.

Mel­bourne Air­port went through one of its big­gest se­cu­rity threats to date in May when a Malaysian Air­lines flight was forced to turn back to Mel­bourne af­ter a man on board tried to en­ter the cock­pit with what he claimed was a bomb.

Po­lice were able to board the plane af­ter it landed and ar­rested the man with the de­vice turn­ing out to be a harm­less speaker.

“The thing we have to re­mem­ber with the Malaysia Air­lines scare was that the se­cu­rity sys­tem actually did work, there was no de­vice that got on to the air­craft that shouldn’t have got on to the air­craft. “We do know that the ter­ror­ist threat is ever evolv­ing and ever chang­ing, and we work in­cred­i­bly closely with the Depart­ment of Trans­port Safety to make sure we’re up with the lat­est trends and re­quire­ments.”

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