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Abbott confirms Badgerys Creek for Sydney’s second airport

Sydney’s second airport could see its first flight in the next decade as prime minister Tony Abbott this afternoon confirmed…

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Minister for Infrastructure Warren Truss announced a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek on Tuesday. AAP/Alan Porritt

Sydney’s second airport could see its first flight in the next decade as prime minister Tony Abbott this afternoon confirmed construction will start at Badgerys Creek in 2016.

“Today’s decision recognises the growth of Western Sydney. Over the next 20 years, the region’s population is expected to grow from two million to three million people,” he said.

“A dedicated Western Sydney airport will service local aviation needs and be a much-needed relief valve for Sydney Airport. It will be a major catalyst for investment, jobs growth and tourism in the region for decades to come.”

The airport is expected to cost A$2.5 billion, and will be built with private sector funding. Sydney Airport has the right of first refusal to develop and operate the new airport.

Aviation experts welcomed the announcement, with the development expected to increase GDP by A$24 billion and create 60,000 jobs over time.

“My understanding is (Badgerys Creek) will operate as a second domestic airport and what I would expect initially is the movement of some limited east coast services to Melbourne and Brisbane to the new airport,” Ian Douglas, senior aviation lecturer at UNSW, said.

“This will stop people from Western Sydney having to take an hour to travel to Mascot to fly an hour to Melbourne. And the expectation is that this will lift constraints and free up valuable slots at Kingsford-Smith.”

“It makes a lot of sense on a number of levels,” he said. “The recent Joint Study on Aviation Capacity for the Sydney Region identified that the current airport will be unable to service future demand, with both the airport and surrounding access roads already seriously congested.”

The new airport is expected to have a noise footprint the fraction the size of Kingsford-Smith, which affects 130,000.

But Marion Burgess, an acoustics and noise control expert at UNSW, said it was important to ensure there was a robust environmental assessment process.

“During the community consultation process there needs to be transparency on what the estimates of the noise impact may be,” she said. “And it’s important to ensure that any new residential housing near to the airport flight paths take the potential noise impact into consideration.”

Qantas immediately backed the plan, with CEO Alan Joyce labelling the airport “a vital piece of economic infrastructure for Australia”.

“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,” a statement read.

Rico Merkert, senior lecturer in aviation management at the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies at Sydney University, said freight operators would be the most keen on getting into Badgerys Creek.

“Badgerys Creek is most beneficial because it moves freight out of Kingsford-Smith and should allows for flights in the evening,” he said.

“During peak hour it will reduce some of the congestion in Mascot and will be very good for the efficiency of the Sydney airport system in general.”

“Still, international airlines make most of their money from business class and premium cabins. Their guests highly value the access to the CBD that comes with Kingsford-Smith and I don’t see them moving out,” Dr Merkert said.

“But Badgerys creek is the best choice in all the locations that have been discussed.”

Hamza Bendemra, an aerospace researcher at ANU said it was a decision “long overdue”.

“That earlier study commissioned by then-Minister Anthony Albanese clearly stated that the current Sydney airport was going to reach near-full capacity by 2030, so a decision just had to be made,” he said.

“Now questions remain around how the airport will be supported by nearby infrastructure and routes to and out of the new airport.”

The NSW state government is due to announce further infrastructure projects around the airport site in coming days.

Join the conversation

34 Comments sorted by

  1. Ross Corrigan

    logged in via Twitter

    One of the reasons why it is very prudent to act now on a second airport is the issue of global warming. Sea levels are going to rise and Sydney's current airport, unless anyone has not noticed, is built in Botany Bay. Even a modest sea level rise will impact on the current infrastructure and require more and more to be spent on maintenance to fortify sea walls etc. Yes it may take decades or even a century but securing a safe location for an airport is vital and you can bet the Macquarie Airports…

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    1. Terry Reynolds

      Financial and political strategist

      In reply to Ross Corrigan

      The last thing Sydney needs is a dusty airport in the sticks, 50 km from the CBD. It is well located where it is now with 50% of landings and takeoffs over the bay and the ocean. Planes are getting quieter all the time and most flights into Sydney are commuter flights from Melbourne or internationals who want the experience of seeing the harbour and CBD from the air..

      LA has LAX and Longbeach both well within the city boundaries and close to central LA, Disneyland etc.

      The best place for additional capacity is further extensions into Botany Bay and running north east south west to minimise air traffic over residential areas.If the sea levels rise in the future, we raise the levels of the runways.

      Melbourne would be better off building a third airport in Port Phillip Bay joined by a bridge and railway out from Brighton or Mordialloc.A few man made islands on huge Port Phiilip Bay would do wonders for recreation and business.

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    2. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Ross Corrigan

      Toowoomba's Wagner family (http://www.wagner.com.au/ ) is spending a substantial proportion of their wealth on a 747-capable airport near Toowoomba (http://www.wellcamp.com.au/).

      The existing airport beside Brisbane River mouth into Moreton Bay is even more exposed to sea level rise inundation risk than is Mascot, which could be protected by a ~2 km barrage between Kurnell and Little Bay.

      Perhaps the thinking of the Wagners is similar to yours?

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    3. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Terry Reynolds

      We don't even need those ideas Terry. They will all soon enough be wasted extravagances.
      This airline boom will be bust within a few years.

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  2. David Stein

    Businessman

    This is the right call.
    Forcing people in Western Sydney to travel all the way to Mascot hasn't made sense in years. Badgery's Creek will be an excellent solution for point-to-point travellers who live in or whose destination is Western Sydney.
    Secondary airports have done extremely well in many cities:
    Oakland v. SFO
    Burbank, Long Beach, Ontario, Santa Ana v. LAX
    LGA, EWR v. JFK
    Midway v. ORD
    The list goes on...

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    1. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to David Stein

      On the other hand, would it not make more sense for Sydney's second airport to be Canberra Airport, with a VFT link to, say, Mascot?

      There are ~30 movements each day between Mascot and Canberra; with a VFT, that's 30 more slots available for other flights.

      ... and then they could extend the VFT to Melbourne.

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    2. Mark Amey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Arthur

      We are flat out building a cod ordinary train in this country, let alone a vft!!

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    3. David Arthur

      resistance gnome

      In reply to Mark Amey

      Here in Maryborough, Mr Amey, and in several other fabrication plants around the country, Downer EDI make lots of trains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downer_Rail).

      Over at the Environment Law & Policy Center (US) website (http://highspeedrailworks.org/about-us/myths-facts/), we read that high speed rail uses about three times less fuel per passenger mile than cars, and six times less fuel than aircraft.

      Mind you, a 'Blade' R or S model from Electric Vehicle Corporation Ltd (http://www.evcorporation.com.au/) uses less fuel again (ie none), but they haven't yet got the battery range to do Sydney-Canberra.

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    4. Mark Amey

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to David Arthur

      David, Im all for high speed rail in Australia I'm about to travel from Venice to Rome on the Frecciabiancha, and live within cooee of UGI, who would be more than happy to construct equipment for high speed, but, we seem to fiddle arse around with various analyses rather than real commitment to getting wheels on steel. At the moment we are all tape measure and no measurements.

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  3. harry oblong

    tree surgeon

    tell us something we don't know tony..........

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  4. John Doyle

    architect

    Badgerys Creek is a white elephant in waiting. While it might make sense if it was operational now, it's not going to make sense in 20 years time. It could easily be a ghost airport like we see already in Spain etc.
    By then air traffic will have tanked. This is already happening in the USA. One plane in three that was flying in 2005 lies idle now. This is a non negotiable outcome. Maths at work.
    http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-25/oil-supply-and-demand-forecasting-with-steven-kopits
    Oil is getting scarcer and more expensive. No oil no air industry.
    There will always be oil but the EROEI is also tanking. It won't be long before the EROEI is 1 in which case we won't even have a viable oil industry. See the graphs in this lecture:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIAFRzaHnb4
    It's time we started recalibrating our expectations, The politicians won't lead.We have to do it.

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    1. Jack McCadden

      Analyst

      In reply to John Doyle

      The peak oil hypothesis has been pushed out into the distant future by the shale oil phenomenon. With Iraq and possibly Iran joining international supply, oil prices are more likely to go down than up mid-term. Also due to ongoing oil efficiency gains, global GDP needs to grow by +3% pa for oil demand to increase. Less than that it declines.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Once in the fossil fuel industry but now free to speak up

      In reply to John Doyle

      Solar planes are the go John. :)

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    3. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Jack McCadden

      That's old and discredited news, Jack. Don't believe the hype sent out by vested interests. The shale oil phenomenon is just a blip. And it's not just oil peaks we have to worry about. We have the currency to worry about. Later on climate change will intrude as well.

      http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-02-25/oil-supply-and-demand-forecasting-with-steven-kopits

      http://oilprice.com/Interviews/Shale-the-Last-Oil-and-Gas-Train-Interview-with-Arthur-Berman.html

      http://ourfiniteworld.com/2014/02/25/beginning-of-the-end-oil-companies-cut-back-on-spending/

      http://ftalphaville.ft.com/files/2013/01/Perfect-Storm-LR.pdf

      Plenty more where these come from

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    4. Jack McCadden

      Analyst

      In reply to John Doyle

      Hmm... I prefer the IEA for oil supply / demand forecasts rather than chicken little wannabes/

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  5. Peter Wigley

    logged in via Facebook

    Of course all the players in the airline industry are happy about the 2nd airport announcement, It effectively locks out the fast train lobby for another 50 years and nothing will really change for the current airport owners for 10 years. That means the airlines and all those making their profits out of this very inefficient use of scarce resources will continue to flourish for a long time to come at the expense of the well being of all us mere mortals. Where is the mainstream media when we need…

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    1. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Peter Wigley

      That's another wrinkle to this saga, but they pale into insignificance compared to what I said above. Wouln't you agree?

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    2. Peter Wigley

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to John Doyle

      John....there are so many good reasons to ditch the 2nd airport idea it is hard to know where to start. At least if "we" built an electric fast train system down the east coast we could power it from renewables when oils become too expensive for us plebs to fly anywhere. We could even use some of the soon to be out of work motor vehicle engineers to also develop some expertise in fast trains and renewable energy and then sell the product of that expertise to other countries.

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    3. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Peter Wigley

      Whatever future awaits us Peter, it will make a lot of use of electricity. and public transport. Long distance trains are diesel electric so that would have to change somewhat. Remember, too we use oil to manufacture any machinery even electric machines and as lubricants.
      Here is one picture of the future from 2007, by Richard Heinberg; It's in 6 parts;
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybRz91eimTg

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    4. peter mackenzie

      Transport Researcher

      In reply to Peter Wigley

      Peter, you seem to be talking about a holistic, big picture, longer-term thinking and planning approach - sorry we don't make those anymore - even if we ever did.
      Sincerely
      consecutive Australian Governmenst since WW11

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    5. peter mackenzie

      Transport Researcher

      In reply to peter mackenzie

      and thank goodness we don't need to run this by the new boys at Infrastructure Australia while they are settling in. Obviously this doesn't fit the criteria for nationally important infrastructure, so doesn't need to consider national networking impacts and integration.

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  6. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    While I welcome an announcement about this project - which has been decades in the making, I won't hold my breath about it actually happening any time soon. We have seen it all before, and my cynicism is only exceeded by my scepticism.

    But one point - who in their right mind really believes it can be built for $2.5 billion? Double that and you will still be short of the mark. And that doesn't even include the cost of the infrastructure such as roads and rail links, But hey, if there is a Budget emergency and we need to cut expenditure, I guess a little creative accounting wouldn't go astray.

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    1. Simon Mansfield

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      What this announcement points to is that Credlin's grasp of the politics of the day has peaked.

      $2.5 billion to build an airport is simply a joke. Meanwhile, there are white elephant airports all over the western world at present.

      MacBank will be the owner as they have no choice but to stop a price setting competitor getting hold of the second airport franchise.

      That leads directly to a quasi monopoly on pricing - which in turn undermines the business case for the domestic airlines to double…

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    2. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to Simon Mansfield

      Yet more reasons to trash this airport idea. I don't know about Peak Credlin, but fingers crossed!
      It certainly shows this Gov is all about appearances.
      Maybe that's the Gov we deserve, a country lucky because it was handed to us on a platter with minimal work and ideas.

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    3. peter mackenzie

      Transport Researcher

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Funnily enough Mike, I made that point about the real costs to my transport expert friend who has amazing experience with transport - anyway, I said double the $2.5 b and the road/rail infra costs, and it would be closer to reality.

      - He just smiled a knowing smile!

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  7. hopy

    logged in via Twitter

    "A Western Sydney airport dedicated to serving the needs of local aviation and is a much needed relief valve for Sydney airport. It will be an important catalyst for investment, growth and jobs tour in the region for decades to come. "

    Airport is expected to cost 2.5 billion dollars, and will be built with funding from the private sector. Sydney Airport has the right of first refusal to develop and operate the new airport.

    The aviation experts welcomed the announcement, with the growth of GDP is expected to increase $ 24 billion and create 60,000 jobs over time. "
    invested very well, with invested capital as on the quality of service is very good, customers will trust.

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    1. John Doyle

      architect

      In reply to hopy

      That's certainly the company line. Do you trust the Company line?

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  8. hopy

    logged in via Twitter

    "A Western Sydney airport dedicated to serving the needs of local aviation and is a much needed relief valve for Sydney airport. It will be an important catalyst for investment, growth and jobs tour in the region for decades to come. "

    Airport is expected to cost 2.5 billion dollars, and will be built with funding from the private sector. Sydney Airport has the right of first refusal to develop and operate the new airport.

    The aviation experts welcomed the announcement, with the growth of GDP is expected to increase $ 24 billion and create 60,000 jobs over time. "
    invested very well, with invested capital as on the quality of service is very good, customers will trust.
    <a href="http://www.hopy1.com">hopy</a>;

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  9. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    There was an ugly rumour that the "Uglies" faction of the NSW Liberal Party owned all the land earmarked for Sydney's second airport.
    Follow the public money destined, directly, or indirectly for the Liberal Party coffers.
    Investigative journalists, do your thing!
    How do we like having "Gollum" holding the Prime Ministerial ring of power; did he consult his cabinet colleagues on this decision?
    Or is it in the PPL and Royal accolades pattern?
    Does anyone know with this surprising and secretive PM, even in his own party?
    Are the "Uglies" faction, (Abbott and Howard's faction in the NSW Liberal party?), on the "information" inside?

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