The latest on Western Sydney Airport

Sydney’s proposed second airport at Badgery’s Creek is expected to commence construction in 2018.  WSA Co was incorporated by the Australian government in Aug-2017, charged with the design and construction of the new airport. Let’s take a look at the most recent updates regarding this important development for tourism, trade and transport in Sydney and all of Australia.

WSA Co outlines employment targets for Western Sydney Airport, focus on local and indigenous jobs

Australia’s Government outlined a “comprehensive package of employment targets” for Western Sydney Airport (WSA) both during its construction and operational phase. Details include:

  • Indigenous workers to make up 2.4% of the total workforce on the construction of the airport;
  • 3% of all contracts during construction to be with Indigenous firms;
  • 20% of workforce to be made up of “learning workers”, including apprentices and trainees;
  • 30% of workers to be residents of western Sydney during the construction phase;
  • From 2026 when the airport is fully operational, WSA Co will target 50% of employees from the western Sydney region;
  • WSA Co to publicly report against these targets from 2021;

Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher added: “It will be a game changer for people in western Sydney seeking employment opportunities locally… That’s why we’re investing AUD5.3 billion (USD4.16 billion) to build WSA—a project that will transform the region and be a catalyst for economic growth for decades to come—and billions more in roads”.

AirAsia interested in Toowoomba, Newcastle, Adelaide, Cairns, Tasmania and Western Sydney

AirAsia Group CEO and AirAsia X Group co CEO Tony Fernandes commented on potential new destinations in Australia, stating: “We’re looking at Toowoomba as an alternative to Brisbane and we’re also very interested in Newcastle”. He added: “We’d also love to go back into Adelaide and Cairns is of huge interest, as is Tasmania”. Mr Fernandes also commented: “If we get more Toowoombas and Avalons, we can bring fares down another 20 per cent pending what oil costs are doing. We’re also very interested in the new Sydney airport – we like anything that helps us drive down costs”.

Sydney Airport seeks to attract more direct services from China, India

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert stated he plans to travel to China and India in May-2018 as part of efforts to attract more direct services to Sydney, adding that the airport does not want to be in a position where it is turning away services because it is unable to cater for them. He added that NSW cannot wait until the new WSA opens in 2026 to add more capacity in the Sydney Basin. “There is actually a synergy between growing the [flight] activity now and the success of WSA, and that is something I will certainly be discussing with the government”, he said. He said there was no reason why India, which has only one direct service to Sydney from New Delhi on Air India, cannot be as big a source of visitors as China, and that there should be direct services to Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai.

WSA will be ‘dead in the water’ without high speed rail: ABC CEO

Aerotropolis Business Concepts (ABC) CEO John Kasarda, speaking at the CAPA Global Airport Leaders’ Forum, commented that the WSA development will be “dead in the water” if “they do not develop the high speed connectivity rail network”.

Australian Government outlines aviation infrastructure investments in 2018/19 budget

Australia’s Government outlined the following aviation infrastructure investment commitments in its 2018/19 budget:

  • Strengthening airport security: Managing biosecurity risks to protect the environment, exports and agricultural and tourism sectors. Continuing ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’ to address the threat of people smugglers;
  • New projects: AUD24.5 billion (USD18.2 billion) allocated for new nationally significant transport projects including the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail project and WSA first announced in the 2017/18 budget, as part of the wider AUD75 billion (USD55.7 billion) transport infrastructure investment over the next decade. Up to AUD5.3 billion (USD3.9 billion) for WSA and a AUD1.5 billion (USD1.1 billion) of funding and a AUD2 billion (USD1.48 billion) concessional loan for the WestConnex airport road link project in Sydney;
  • AUD1.3 billion (USD960 million) METRONET, including AUD490 million (USD364 million) for the Forrestfield to Perth Airport rail link.

Western Sydney Airport issues community update

WSA issued the following community updates:

  • Site works progressing well with the relocation of the major transmission line on track for completion by mid 2019;
  • WSA Co committed to local workforce targets of at least 30% during the construction phase and 50% once the airport is fully operational;
  • The Australia and New South Wales governments committed to constructing the first stage of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to Badgerys Creek Aerotropolis via WSA and completing the rail link by the time the airport opens in 2026.