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NEWS Last modified on April 15, 2014

Australian government approves construction of a second Sydney airport

The Australian government has given the green light to construction of a long-standing proposed second airport for Sydney in Badgerys Creek.

Endorsed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the cabinet gave their approval today, for building of second gateway, which has been on the drawing board since the 1960s, and is located 50kms west of the CBD.

Sydney’s Airport is constrained by the how much it can develop, and passenger traffic is already under strain, and operates under an 11pm–6am curfew and a restriction of 500,000 aircraft movements a year.

The proposal for a 24-hour new airport in Badgerys Creek, will make sure Sydney is even more competitive in future generations, and has the capacity to meet demand for air traffic.

The airport is part of the an A$10 billion, 10-year infrastructure plan centred on Western Sydney, involving federal government, state government and private sector funding.

Construction of the airport is expected to begin in 2016 and PM Abbott, says the bulk of the investment would come from the private sector, with government to take the lead on building surrounding infrastructure, including roads.

The cost of building the airport is estimated to cost around A$2.5 billion, and construction is expected to start in 2016, and the government says the airport could be open by the mid-2020s.

Southern Cross Airports Corporation, the operator of the existing airport, Sydney Airport, has Right of First Refusal for the second airport.

In a statement Sydney Airport says it was “important that a secondary airport be developed as demand requires, with priority placed on planning supporting infrastructure including roads, rail, public transport options, aviation fuel pipelines and utilities."

It adds: “In the interests of the travelling public, airlines and our shareholders, Sydney Airport will apply appropriate commercial and financial discipline throughout any process.”

Sydney Airport’s approved Master Plan 2033 shows the facility can meet forecast demand of 74 million passengers in 2033.

The statement adds: "Together with government, stakeholders, airline partners and the community, we are focused on improving the customer experience, increasing efficiency and enhancing capacity at Sydney Airport."

Qantas has also welcomed the government’s announcement, and CEO Alan Joyce says the second airport was a vital piece of economic infrastructure for Australia – and Badgerys Creek is clearly the right site.

“Qantas has long supported the building of a second airport at Badgerys Creek, as have a number of detailed studies. After decades of debate, we applaud today’s announcement by the Prime Minister,” says Joyce.

“The role of second airports has been well-established in several of the world’s major capitals. Sydney is the key gateway for air traffic in-and-out of Australia and the benefits of having two major airports will be felt nationwide,” adds Joyce.

A Federal-NSW study released in 2012 found a second airport would be needed by 2030 – and effectively ruled out any location other than Badgerys Creek.

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