Australia approves project to build a second airport for Sydney.
New York (USAsian Network Business & Industry News) Tue, Apr
15, 2014 - Australia has approved a AUD$2.5 billion (USD$2.34 billion)
project to build a long-awaited second airport for Sydney, likely
boosting near-term investment and jobs in a bet that the city's air
travel demand will grow enough to justify a surge in terminal capacity.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the plan on Tuesday, saying he
expects work at the Badgerys Creek site in Western Sydney to begin in
2016. The project will be funded mostly by the private sector, he said,
with first flights expected in the mid-2020s. A second airport for
Sydney was first proposed over 50 years ago, but became mired in
political debate before Abbott promised to build one in last year's
victorious election campaign. He was voted in on a ticket pledging he
would be an "infrastructure prime minister", targeting
infrastructure projects to revive economic growth that sagged as
Australia's mining investment boom faded since 2012. "It is
essentially going to be an infrastructure package for Western Sydney, a
long overdue infrastructure package for Western Sydney, that does also
involve an airport," Abbott told reporters in Canberra. While the
project is designed to bring a straightforward injection of investment
and jobs to the area in the near term, implementing it and making
efficient use of the extra capacity it brings in the longer term may be
more complex. Sydney's current airport is Kingsford Smith, 10 km
southeast of the city. Under rules governing its sale in 2002, Sydney
Airport has the right of first refusal to develop and operate a second
airport in the city. "Basically it's the first right to
develop and operate a second airport, but it's something that would
be subject to lengthy discussions," Sydney Airport's
spokeswoman Laura Stevens told Reuters news agency. Talks between the
government and the airport operator may be complicated by the fact that
Sydney Airport already has an existing 20-year plan to upgrade Kingsford
Smith. That plan was devised to meet forecast demand of 74 million
passengers in 2033, nearly double 2013's 38 million passengers.
The time frame for consultations will be "a minimum of a year and a
maximum of two years", Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss told
reporters in Canberra. "If they (Sydney Airport) choose not to do
so, then that opportunity will be offered to others," he said.
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