Government releases final Badgerys Creek Airport Plan

The federal government has officially "declared" Badgerys Creek as the site for a second airport in Sydney. (Jordan Chong)

The federal government has released the Airport Plan for the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek, moving a step closer to the issuing of a sales contract to Sydney Airport.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said in a joint statement the final Airport Plan, published on Monday, was the “blueprint for this airport development”.

“After decades of studies and planning, all the approvals are now in place,” Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Fletcher said.

“This is the most significant step taken by any Government on this project – meaning we can now get on with building the airport so it is ready to take its first passengers by the mid-2020’s.”

The Western Sydney Airport Plan showed Stage 1 of the airport would feature a terminal capable of handling up to 10 million passengers a year, with domestic and international flights operating on a single 3,700m long by 60m wide runway in a 05/23 orientation.

The design of the facility would allow for a second parallel runway and expansion of the terminals to cater for 37 million passengers a year by 2050 and 82 million a year by about 2063.

The terminal design would feature swing gates capable of handling both domestic and international flights, which would increase the efficiency of transfers and increasing the use of contact gates equipped with aerobridges.

Meanwhile, jet fuel supply was expected to be delivered by road tanker in a similar way to other airports operating at this scale, such as Canberra and Gold Coast airports.

An illustration of Stage 1 of the proposed Badgerys Creek Airport. (Final Airport Plan)

And the Airport Plan said the flight paths have not been finalised, noting the draft flight paths shown in the draft Airport Plan were a “conceptual model for aircraft arrivals”.

“Final airspace and air route planning for the proposed airport will assess different systems for sequencing arriving aircraft and alternative flight path options,” the Airport Plan said.

“This future airspace planning and design will evaluate each system and flight path option against the key criteria of safety, aircraft operation efficiency, capacity, and noise and other environmental impacts.”

The federal government has stipulated there would be no single point merge over the community of Blaxland or any other single residential area.

Also, there will be night-time restrictions at Badgerys Creek, where all takeoffs and landings between 2300 and 0600 would be in a south-westerly direction to avoid residential areas. This policy has been criticised by pilot groups.

Separately, the Airport Plan said the proposed facility may include facilities for general aviation, corporate aviation, emergency services and helicopters, depending on demand. However, no plans have been identified for such services.

The Airport Plan noted the 2012 Joint Study on aviation capacity in the Sydney region found that all weekday takeoff and landing slots at Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport between 0600-1200 and 1600-1900 would be fully allocated by 2020.

Further, by 2027 there would “effectively be no slots unallocated, with an unmet demand of more than 100 flights per day” at Sydney Airport.

And it was “unlikely that there will be any usable capacity available for new services at Sydney Airport” by 2035.

When the Commonwealth sold Sydney Airport in 2002 it included a 30-year first right of refusal to build and operate any airport within 100km of the existing terminals at Mascot.

Sydney Airport has said previously it would have between four and nine months to consider the proposal once the Notice of Intention (NOI), effectively a sales contract, had been issued.

The document will cover the deed governing the development of the airport, the lease of airport land and the arrangements under which the airport will operate, among other matters.

The government has said previously it planned to issue the NOI before the end of 2016.

In November, Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg laid down 40 environmental conditions that needed to be met as part of the construction and operation of the proposed airport. They covered biodiversity, noise and heritage and were developed after a review of the proposed airport’s environmental impact statement (EIS) that was finalised in September.

Currently, road upgrade works in partnership with the state government were underway, while a joint federal-NSW government Joint Scoping Study on Rail Needs for Western Sydney was considering the airport’s rail needs.

While the Airport Plan has allocated space for a rail line and station at the terminal, the airport was expected to open some time in the mid-2020s with road transport the only option for travellers and staff.

“Rail services will need to be provided at the Airport at the right time in its development,” the Airport Plan said.

“Rail services are expected to be required as part of a multi-modal transport solution by the time the Airport reaches 30 MAP [million annual passengers], estimated to be in the mid-2040s.”

Australian Aviation

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