Western Sydney International Airport, also known as Nancy-Bird Walton Airport, is a proposed greenfield airport being constructed in Badgerys Creek, a suburb of Sydney, Australia. The new airport will be one of the country’s most significant infrastructure developments.

The airport construction plan was finalised by the Australian Government in December 2016. The proposed airport will cater to the projected aviation growth in Sydney, which is anticipated to double in the next 20 years. It will also ease traffic congestion at the existing Sydney airport, improving services for passengers.

Western Sydney Airport will be constructed in stages, with the first stage’s completion scheduled for the mid-2020s. The first phase is expected to accommodate 10 million passengers a year, while the airport will be expanded further based on demand.

A ground-breaking ceremony at the construction site was held in September 2018. The construction and operation of the airport will boost Western Sydney’s economy by creating jobs and encouraging investments.

The project is expected to create 2,660 direct and indirect jobs during construction, and 8,730 direct jobs upon commencing operations. Approximately $1.9bn in economic activity is expected to be generated during the construction period.

Western Sydney International Airport location details

After the evaluation of 80 sites in the Greater Sydney region, Badgerys Creek was selected as an ideal location for the proposed airport.

The 1,780ha site is double the size of the existing Kingsford Smith Airport and offers proximity to road and rail transport links. It has also been protected from incompatible urban development by long-standing planning restrictions.

Relocation of 1.9 million cubic meters of topsoil will take place for the creation of a level site.

The site allows Sydney to have a curfew-free airport that will add value to the region’s economy.

Airport development details

Western Sydney Airport will serve domestic and international passengers, as well as freight services.

The first stage of the project involves the construction of a passenger terminal, a single runway, cargo facilities, maintenance areas, ground transportation facilities, car parks and supporting infrastructure.

The construction also covers the realignment of Badgerys Creek Road, relocation of utilities, construction of a new roundabout on Elizabeth Drive, bulk earthworks and stockpiling.

The airport’s design provides scope for expansion to meet expected demand in the future.

Western Sydney international airport passenger terminal

The new terminal will be constructed between the two proposed runways in the midfield area to optimise the connection between landside operations and the airfield.

The terminal will also include landscape gardens, entertainment venues and dining and retail spaces. The entrance of the terminal will feature soaring timber ceilings, while vertical gardens will enhance the airport’s beauty.

It will house check-in desks, gates and baggage claim areas for international and domestic operations.

The dual-use facilities will benefit airlines and passengers by accommodating various aircraft, increasing the efficiency of transfers and enabling the use of shared contact gates.

Passenger facilities at the terminal will include baggage drop systems, security desks, kiosks, migration / immigration areas, baggage handling and claim areas, departure lounges and commercial areas.

Runways at the new Sydney airport

Two runways of equal length have been proposed for the airport, with one being built during the first construction stage. It will be 3,700m long and capable of handling 63,000 aircraft movements a year. At full capacity, it will handle approximately 185,000 aircraft movements and 37 million passengers a year.

Construction of the second runway will be initiated based on demand by 2050. Once both the runways become operational, they will be able to serve 82 million passengers and handle approximately 370,000 aircrafts movements annually.

Ground transport facilities

Plans are underway to make the new airport easily accessible via ground transport options, including road and rail. As part of a $3.6bn Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan, the Australian and New South Wales governments proposed a new M12 motorway, which will connect the proposed airport with the existing motorway network at the M7.

The Australian government is investing $26m to develop a detailed concept design for rail access at the airport site. The results of the Joint Scoping Study on Western Sydney rail needs, initiated by both the governments, revealed the feasibility of developing new rail links. The study was completed in March 2018.

Western Sydney airport parking

The airport will have a dedicated car park with spaces for up to 12,500 vehicles. It will also include multi-storey commercial parking for airport customers, employees, rental cars and emergency service vehicles.

Funding for the new airport

The Australian Government committed to invest up to $5.3bn in equity through a government-owned entity ‘Western Sydney Airport’ to complete the development of the new airport.

The government announced it will invest $89m in airport site preparation and $26m for developing the concept design for rail infrastructure.

Contractors involved in Western Sydney international airport development

Ernst & Young was appointed as a business adviser for the project. The company is collaborating with other firms, including LEK, GHD and Landrum and Brown, to provide specialist aviation, design and commercial expertise for the development.

Zaha Hadid Architects and Cox Architecture were engaged as master architects for the project. The architects will provide the design for the airport precinct and guidelines for further expansion in the future.

JLL was appointed to conduct an environmental impact assessment study on the noise effect caused by the airport on the neighbouring property prices.

The contract for early earth works was awarded to a joint venture of LendLease and CPB Contractors. WSP is responsible for providing the design and construction services for the transformational airport project.

Arup was selected as a key partner in the functional planning of the airport and AV Logix is responsible for delivering baggage handling consultancy services.