The Australian Government has approved the construction of a second airport in Sydney, the country’s largest city.
Work on the Western Sydney airport, which will be built on the Badgerys Creek site in the suburbs of Sydney 60km from the city centre, is expected to begin in 2016.
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott, who announced the plan on Tuesday 15 April, said he expects the airport to be fully operational by 2024.
“This airport will be good for economic growth and good for jobs – both in Western Sydney and nationally. While the initial construction phase is expected to generate around 4,000 jobs, the airport development is expected to create 35,000 jobs by 2035, increasing to 60,000 jobs over time,” said Abbott.
The new airport, being funded largely by the private sector, has the potential to drive an increase in Australian gross domestic product (GDP) of almost AU$24bn (£13.5bn) by 2060.
“Without a new airport we run the risk of the existing Kingsford Smith Airport reaching capacity,” Abbott commented. “Sydney’s airport is the gateway to Australia’s largest city and accounts for 40% of international arrivals and 50% of international air freight each year. If no action is taken on a second airport Australia will lose out on 80,000 additional jobs and AU$34bn (£19bn) in economic activity by 2060.”
Over the next 20 years, Sydney’s population is expected to grow from two million to three million people. Abbott added that Western Sydney is already Australia’s third largest economy and “in its own right” would be the country’s fourth largest city.
“A dedicated Western Sydney airport will service local aviation needs and be a much-needed relief valve for Sydney Airport,” said Abbott. “It will be a major catalyst for investment, jobs growth and tourism in the region for decades to come.”
Australia’s flag airline carrier Qantas said it supports the he Australian Government’s decision to build a second airport, an initiative that has been discussed for over 50 years.
“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,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce. “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.”
The Australian Government, together with the New South Wales (NSW) Government, is now putting together a Western Sydney infrastructure package that will initially focus on roads and the airport second.
“Building road and rail infrastructure to support Badgerys Creek will not just benefit airport users, but residents throughout Western Sydney. The new airport in Western Sydney with supporting roads and transport infrastructure will make life easier in Sydney and make the economy stronger,” added Abbott.