“WELCOME to the future of Sydney – that’s what we are seeing here,” jubilant Australian prime minister Scott Morrison told guests and reporters at Badgerys Creek this morning.
Morrison was attending the official opening of the construction of Sydney’s second international airport, Western Sydney Airport.
Sydney is expected to double passenger numbers within the next two decades, with low-cost airlines continuing to provide much of the growth.
Low-cost airlines, which have been driving down fares on long routes and making it easier for travellers to fly, have stimulated an incredible increase in demand. In fact, the number of air passengers globally is projected to nearly double to 7.8 billion by 2036.
The Western Sydney Airport, which will cost new US$3.6 billion to build, is part of an effort to deal with booming air traffic numbers.
It has been a long time coming for Sydney, which saw decades of debate on the location of another airport within the Sydney basin during the planning stages.
“It’s great to see this happening,” Morrison said at the opening. “This issue has been around for longer than I have been living on the planet,” he added, joking about long-running planning delays.
Breaking ground on construction for the new Western Sydney Airport. A long-awaited project in partnership with NSW Government.
Welcome to the future of Sydney. pic.twitter.com/GBJHsnuZaK
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) September 24, 2018
Located within the suburb of Badgerys Creek, it is situated only 44 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD and 41 kilometres west of the Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.
In giving Sydney-bound holidaymakers more options to reach Australia largest city, it plans to have 24-hour and curfew-free operations.
It will initially operate with one runway handling international, domestic and freight flights. A second runway is likely to be added at a later time.
In the first phase, Western Sydney Airport will be able to accommodate around 10 million passengers a year, around a quarter of the current total landing at the present facility.
The first major airport to be built in Australia since Melbourne’s Tullamarine airport in 1970, Western Sydney Airport is scheduled to be open in 2026.
This article originally appeared on our sister site Travel Wire Asia.