Badgerys Creek Green Light

AFTER decades of controversy, Sydney’s second international airport at Badgerys Creek has finally been given the green light by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The Western Sydney Airport, due to open by the mid-2020s, will be built on a 1,800 hectare site about 50 kilometres west of the CBD. Initial plans include a 3.7 kilometre east-west runway, long enough to operate Airbus A380s.

The airport will initially serve up to 5 million passengers a year, growing to 10 million by the mid-2030s, with a second parallel runway planned for 2050.

The Prime Minister said the project would be a catalyst for investment and industry in Western Sydney, delivering 9,000 new jobs to the area by the early 2030s and 60,000 in the long term.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said Sydney needed the second airport at Badgerys Creek to overcome capacity constraints at the existing Kingsford Smith airport.

“Sydney is already full, Kingsford Smith is full, we have called for this capacity for some time,” Joyce said. “It will be great for Sydney, NSW and Australia.”

Since news of the approval, contention has risen over how Western Sydney Airport should be funded. The private operator of Kingsford Smith, Sydney Airport Corporation, has first right of refusal on the option to build and operate the second airport, but the Federal Government has said it would need to fund the build itself in exchange for a long-term operating lease.

Sydney Airport Corporation said it had been negotiating with the government under the belief that it would pay for the preliminary works at the site or offer a long-term loan.

Disagreement has also emerged over the length of time Sydney Airport will be given to make a decision on the plan, with SAC believing it had nine months to respond and the government saying four.