The upcoming Western Sydney International (WSI) Airport in Australia has welcomed its first airline partner as the Qantas Group signs up to operate 15 aircraft from the site. 

Qantas’ two airlines will be operating from the new airport, with 10 Jetstar aircraft and five Qantas flying domestic routes when the airport opens in late 2026. 

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce described the airport as a “significant growth opportunity” for his company as current plans mean it will become the group’s sixth largest airport in its first year: “Western Sydney International Airport has some big strategic advantages with no curfew: technology that allows aircraft to be turned around quickly and a next-generation baggage system. 

“Our data shows that more than two million trips per year are taken by people who live in the Western Sydney catchment so we know there will be demand for these flights from day one.” 

The new airport initially began construction in 2018 after years of searching for a second Sydney airport site due to concerns that the existing Kingsford Smith Airport was nearing capacity. The beginning of construction on WSI’s runway last year was one of the biggest airport projects in the world for 2022

WSI, also known as the Nancy-Bird Walton Airport, is being built to accommodate 10 million passengers a year upon its opening and has been designed to allow for further expansion in the future. 

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CEO Simon Hickey said that Qantas’ investment into the site showed the potential of the new airport: “WSI is being designed for growth and will eventually become Sydney’s biggest airport. 

“We have a roadmap to grow to 82 million annual passengers, around the size of the world’s major airports, such as Dubai and London Heathrow.” 

The commitment from Qantas to WSI will also see the two organisations work on developing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) projects to supply the lower emission fuel to the airport. 

That partnership comes shortly after Qantas announced a A$400m ($261.77m) climate fund to invest in sustainability projects, including A$290m ($167m) towards an Airbus partnership looking to develop a SAF industry in Australia.