The Australian government has given the green light for the development of Sydney’s long-awaited new airport.
In an announcement on Tuesday 15 April 2014, the Prime Minister’s office confirmed a new airport will be developed in Badgery’s Creek, western Sydney.
“For more than 50 years governments have talked about a second airport for Sydney. The talk is over. The final decision has been made,” Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in a statement. “This airport will be good for economic growth and good for jobs – both in Western Sydney and nationally.”
The new airport will be developed at an estimated cost of AU$2.4 billion (US$2.3bn), with work expected to commence in 2016. The airport is likely to be operational in the mid-2020s. The government said however, that “comprehensive planning and consultation” would need to take place first, as well as the construction of supporting infrastructure, such as road and utilities.
But once complete, the new airport is expected to create up to 35,000 jobs by 2035, increasing to 60,000 in the future.
“Without a new airport, we run the risk of the existing Kingsford-Smith Airport reaching capacity. 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 would lose out on 80,000 additional jobs and AU$34bn in economic activity by 2060,” the government stated.
Qantas said it welcomed the decision to build a new airport.
“Qantas has long supported the building of a second airport at Badgery’s Creek, as have a number of detailed studies. After decades of debate, we applaud today’s announcement by the Prime Minister,” said the airline’s CEO, Alan Joyce.
“Airports are key pieces of infrastructure that facilitate a huge amount of economic activity, and they take a lot of time to plan and build. We look forward to being part of this process as Badgery’s Creek moves closer to reality,” he added.
According to forecasts, passenger traffic in the Sydney area will more than double from 40 million to 87 million over the next 20 years, before doubling again to 165m by 2060.