Western Sydney Airport

Back to Map
Sydney aviation capacity
High Priority Project
Western Sydney, NSW
Fast-growing cities
National Connectivity
Problem/Opportunity timeframe
Medium term (5-10 years)
Proposed By
Australian Government
Evaluation Date
21 October 2016

Problem to be addressed

Sydney is Australia’s primary aviation gateway, accounting for around 40% of international services, 43% of domestic services, and 45% of international air freight. The demand for flights in the Sydney region is forecast to double over the next 20 years, beyond the capacity of Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport.

Airports are critical economic assets. Constraints on Sydney’s airport capacity would increase the cost of accessing Sydney, with a significant negative impact on Australia’s economy and national productivity.

The 2015 Australian Infrastructure Audit identified the need for additional airport capacity in the Sydney Basin, and the February 2016 Infrastructure Priority List identified development of a Western Sydney Airport as a High Priority Initiative.

Project description

Western Sydney Airport will be a full service airport catering for domestic and international passengers, as well as freight services, initially with a single 3,700 m runway and facilities for 10 million passengers per annum. Construction commenced in 2018 and the airport is scheduled to open in 2026.

Western Sydney Airport will be developed in stages as demand grows. A second runway will be added when needed. In 2063, the airport is expected to accommodate approximately 82 million passengers annually.

The Australian Government has committed to developing Western Sydney Airport through a Commonwealth company, Western Sydney Airport Company Limited.

This Commonwealth company will build and operate Western Sydney Airport. The Australian Government will act as the airport regulator and ensure the project meets all necessary design and environmental requirements, such as flight-path design and biodiversity. The Australian Government and NSW Government are planning and delivering road and rail connections to the airport.

Economic, social and environmental value

Addressing Sydney’s airport capacity constraint will improve productivity and facilitate broader economic impacts such as increased trade, tourism and foreign direct investment. It will also provide wider economic benefits such as agglomeration benefits derived from improved connectivity between businesses (including the clustering of airport businesses).

The proponent’s stated benefit-cost ratio is 1.9, with a net present value of $5,441 million (7% real discount rate), not including wider economic benefits.

Capital cost of initiative as stated by proponent (2016 business case) Approximately $5 billion (Stage 1 only, P50, nominal) | Australian Government contribution The Australian Government committed $5.3 billion in the 2017–18 Budget | State government contribution N/A | Private sector contribution To be determined