Rail flyover to Badgerys Creek? Work on the SW Rail Link, Transport NSW photo

Sydney’s second airport at Badgerys Creek will start out as a single runway facility with a modest terminal, but no curfew, and no forced tranfers of flights there from existing services to the main Kingsford Smith airport.

Work will start in 2016, it would open in the next decade, and the actual airport would be paid for largely by private investment.

The Prime Minister Tony Abbott, said it would be a case of roads first and airport second, with the budget providing for an infrastructure package for western Sydney which also includes a start on the building of an airport.

(When pressed on rail he tried to avoid the ‘r’ word by referring to ‘other infrastructure’ but conceded that a western rail loop through the new airport was desirable, as it was desirable that it be owned and paid for by NSW like its other railways!)

Work will begin on the airport by 2016, after a required-by-law one to two year long process during which the government would ‘assist’ Sydney Airport’s private owners to decide whether or not they would exercise their first right of refusal to own the new airport.

“We want to get cracking on this” the PM said, adding that “there has been too much studying and too little deciding for 40 years.”

It was envisaged that the airport would be operational in the middle of the next decade.

If Sydney Airport doesn’t exercise its right to own the airport at Badgerys Creek the opportunity would be extended to other investors which the PM said could include foreign investors subject to FIRB approvals.

(There is a history of foreign investment in a number of Australian airport owners and managers.)

“We are certainly not saying Badgerys Creek should have a curfew,” Mr Abbott said.

He said he didn’t expect the noise issue at Badgerys Creek to be anwhere near as bad as at Sydney Airport. “There is a quite a signicant buffer zone around this airport for industrial developments.” His deputy and transport minister Warrne Truss said that the noisy aircraft of the past were being replaced by the likes of Boeing 787s which were as much as 60% quieter.

“The noisy aircraft aren’t in the air anymore” Truss said. (Especially so in 10 years time).

Abbott and Truss both said that airlines would be free to decide what types of flights they would operate and how often to the new airport. Truss said that while the slots reserved at Sydney Airport for regional or rural services would be unaffected by the building of the new airport, growth in those services would in time exhaust the available protected slots meaning that regional flights to Badgerys Creek would occur.

The PM said that Badgerys Creek was intended to be an airport for western Sydney, and its services would come from growth and western Sydney demand, not from an enforced transfer of flights from Sydney Airport, something that cabinet had ruled out as a matter of principle.

The Prime Minister said there would be further announcements in coming days with the NSW government over the details of the infraastructure package to be funded in the May budget.

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