PM Abbott Endorses Badgerys Creek as Site of 2nd Sydney Airport, Cabinet Expected to Approve

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | April 15, 2014 11:30 AM EST

Among the agenda lined up for Tuesday's federal government cabinet meeting is the long-standing proposed second airport for Sydney at Badgerys Creek. Already endorsed by Australian PM Tony Abbott, the cabinet is expected to approve it on the same day.

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
An air traffic control tower is seen at the central terminal of LaGuardia Airport in the Queens borough of New York April 8, 2014. With constraints on its resources and no appetite for further debt, private investors and developers are being tapped to rebuild the 50-year-old central terminal for $3.6 billion, instead of using traditional public finance methods. U.S. states and cities are increasingly turning to such deals, known as public-private partnerships, or P3s, hoping to leverage assets that can bring a quick infusion of private dollars to rebuild crumbling infrastructure. Picture taken April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

On the drawing board since the 1960s, the decision to build Sydney's second airport at Badgerys Creek, 50 km west of the CBD, has long been overdue, David Borger, Western Sydney Airport Alliance spokesman, said.

The Daily Telegraph said Mr Abbott's approval will be part of an unprecedented $10-billion, 10-year infrastructure plan centred on Western Sydney. The airport is just only one element of the package for Western Sydney which involves federal government, state government and private sector funding.

Not only the locals welcome it because of the foreseen jobs it would generate, according to Mr Borger, but also the airlines that service Australia.

Qantas Airways and Virgin Australia Holdings have long said both would be willing to use Badgerys Creek.

"Obviously a lot depends on the infrastructure cost and having the right operation for that airport," the SMH quoted Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce. "But there is absolutely a market for it if it is in the right location, has the right cost base in terms of delivery of service, the right transport links, we would be keen on using it."

A second Sydney airport will help ensure Australia remains on track into the global aviation competition, according to James Hogan, Australian-born Etihad Airways chief executive.

"For strained airports such as Sydney or London [Heathrow], for them to be competitive, for the city to be competitive, the airport has to have the capacity to meet demand," Mr Hogan said. "Sydney obviously doesn't."

The Virgin Independent Pilots Association likewise believe it is about time the second Sydney airport gets built and becomes operational fast enough because passenger traffic in the original airport is already straining.

"VIPA has been calling for more funding for airport infrastructure, including a second Sydney airport facility, to meet the increased passenger numbers, apron congestion and delays and the lack of vacant gates for aircraft arrivals into Kingsford Smith," VIPA Executive Director Simon O'Hara said.

But Liverpool Mayor Ned Mannoun cautioned all parties that the construction has to start immediately. It's now or never.

"If this were to get delayed ... there is a chance that people will start saying 'no, we don't want this anymore because more and more people are moving into the area,'" he told ABC radio.

Around 4,000 jobs are expected to be created in Western Sydney during the initial construction phase alone. An additional 35,000 more jobs will be infused once the airport stabilises operations by 2035. This could further rise to 60,000 jobs over time, according to updated employment modelling figures for Western Sydney.

The airport, by 2060, is forecast to handle between 70 and 100 flights a day and more than 600,000 inbound and outbound passengers a year, the Daily Telegraph reported.

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(Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton / )
An air traffic control tower is seen at the central terminal of LaGuardia Airport in the Queens borough of New York April 8, 2014. With constraints on its resources and no appetite for further debt, private investors and developers are being tapped to rebuild the 50-year-old central terminal for $3.6 billion, instead of using traditional public finance methods. U.S. states and cities are increasingly turning to such deals, known as public-private partnerships, or P3s, hoping to leverage assets that can bring a quick infusion of private dollars to rebuild crumbling infrastructure. Picture taken April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
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