Since 1946, there have been plans to build a second airport in Badgerys Creek, about 50 km west of Sydney. In typical political fashion, any progress was continually put on hold, as those in power continued to look for cheaper alternatives (like expanding existing airports in places like Bankstown or Canberra), or simply downgraded its priority.
But time and time again, study after study, Badgerys Creek was pointed to as the best possible location for the city’s second major airport – a necessity for a city whose current Kingsford Smith airport will reach maximum capacity by 2027. And now, this week, the Western Sydney suburb will be given the all clear from the Prime Minister to “get on with building the airport”, as Mr. Turnbull announced in a statement.
Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher and the PM are set to sign the airport plan into action later today (Monday, December 12th), acknowledging in the statement that “This is the most significant step taken by any government on this project.”
Paul Fletcher has promised the airport would be “rail ready” – though don’t take this to mean that the rail will be ready to launch with the airport, as both Federal and State Governments have yet to agree on what that rail line will be, and the plan being signed into action this week has no finalised provisions for the rail service. Some upgrades – such as the widening of the road between Narellan and Penrith – have already begun.
The airport is set to open in the mid-2020s with one runway, that will initially cater for 10 million passengers a year. A second runway is likely by 2050 to cater for growth that is forecast to hit 82 million passengers by 2063.