Michael Pascoe writes:

Max “The Axe” Moore-Wilton has been out of
the public service for some years now, playing for Macquarie Bank, but he must
still think Canberra does whatever he orders. And
for all we know, maybe he’s right.

But Sydney Airport’s
submission to the Productivity Commission on airport regulation should still
win Max some sort of award for gall and hide-thickness. (Sydney Airport of
course is part of Macquarie Airports, where Max is boss. Sydney Airport also
is widely disliked by the owners of Australia’s
other privatised airports for being greedy and
attracting regulatory attention to this nice monopoly business. You can
guess what most of the airlines think of it, let alone consumers’ views of its
various charges.)

As the Smagereports, Max’s baby has told the PC it wants the removal of price caps on
aeronautical charges “set in stone”, as the present “probationary nature” of
airport pricing that’s reviewed every five years has stymied long-term
agreements between the airport and airlines.

“These have
combined to provide airlines with reduced incentives to conclude new agreements
with airports on terms that airlines perceive may be less favourable than
those that may apply if there was a return to greater regulatory intervention,”
says Sydney Airport.

In English, that
means the airlines aren’t paying Sydney Airport as much as they would if Canberra kept completely out of it. Uh derr, as a
teenager might say.

Not surprisingly,
the airlines reckon Sydney Airport is full of it – but Max still seems to
carry political weight in Canberra. The former head of PM&C wouldn’t
know where more than a few bodies are buried, would he?

Peter Fray

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