The Government of New South Wales has approved a US$2.4 billion project for the construction of an international airport to be located in western Sydney.
According to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the AU$2.5 billion project will be funded mostly by the private sector. The construction is expected to begin in 2016. Based on early estimates, the first flights in and out of the airport are not expected until the mid of 2020.
Around 20 sites were considered before the government approved the new facility about 45 km west of Sydney's central business district. A second airport for Sydney was first proposed over 50 years ago. Badgerys Creek was a proposed site but the idea was then shelved for fear of backlash from local voters.
Sydney's main airport, Kingsford Smith, has currently an existing 20-year plan to upgrade its facilities. That plan was envisaged to meet forecast demand of 74 million passengers in 2033, nearly doubling 2013's 38 million passengers. This plan could complicate the agreement between the government and Sydney Airports Corporation Limited, the operator of Sydney's man airport, which will have the right of first refusal to develop and operate the second airport in the city.
In 2002, the Australian Government sold Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (SACL), the company that manages the airport, to Southern Cross Airports Corporation Holdings Ltd., 82.93% owned by Macquarie Airports, 12.11% by Sydney Airport Intervest GmbH and 4.96% owned by Ontario Teachers' Australia Trust. SACL holds a 99-year lease on the airport.