NOW that a federal government has finally grasped the nettle and decided on the site of a second airport for Sydney the issue for regional air travellers is all about continued access to Kingsford Smith Airport.
Residents of western Sydney will be digesting the news that Prime Minister Tony Abbott does not want to see Badgery’s Creek hamstrung by curfews.
Regional passengers, and regional carriers like Regional Express, won’t want to be hamstrung by a service that lands some 56 kilometres west of the CBD.
Despite the transport links that will no doubt be rolled out to link Badgerys Creek with the centre of Sydney, it is difficult to see how flying from Orange to Sydney will remain an option if commuters then face the prospect of a bus or train into Sydney.
For passengers from Bathurst a Badgerys Creek arrival would make even less sense, given the driving time from there to Sydney.
Further west in Dubbo, keeping those prized regional landing slots into Kingsford Smith during peak periods is even more important.
With construction not expected to start until 2016 and the first flights in the mid 2020s there is more than enough time for politicians representing regional NSW to keep regional access to Kingsford Smith front of mind with the government.
Unfortunately there is also time for Sydney Airport Corporation to change its position on access for regional carriers and push for carriers like Regional Express to be moved to Badgerys Creek.
By the time it opens there will be enormous demand for the slots Badgerys Creek will offer, but these should not be earmarked for regional travellers whose destination is Sydney.
As is the case with the smaller satellite airports of other major cities around the world, Badgerys Creek should be home to freight, budget and charter airlines serving interstate and international passengers.
Mr Abbott has made the right initial decision, it must not come at the expense of regional NSW later.