Second Sydney airport critical, says Tourism Australia boss

Sydney’s long-awaited second airport at Badgerys Creek is critical to the nation’s economy and tourism industry, Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan says.

“Its hugely important because of the fact that airports are our gateways, not only for international traffic but also domestic traffic,” Mr O’Sullivan said on the sidelines of a tourism industry event in Sydney.

“They create jobs, they create opportunities, and we know that from the modelling that’s been shared by the government on Badgery’s Creek just how important it is for the west of Sydney, which is becoming a big part now of our international and domestic tourism story,” he said.

The airport at Badgerys Creek, about a 60km drive from Sydney’s town centre, is expected to open in the mid-2020s with a single 3.7km runway, initially serving up to five million passengers a year.

Sydney Airport, the operator of Sydney’s main Kingsford Smith airport, said on Tuesday that it wants nine months to consider whether it will develop the city’s second airport instead of the four months allocated by the federal government. Sydney Airport holds a right of first refusal which gives the company the opportunity to develop and operate a second major airport in Sydney. Mr O’Sullivan expects Sydney’s second airport to boost local tourism initially, and then international passenger traffic.

“I think what it does is it opens up domestic routes within Australia. I’m sure in time it will become an international part of the story as well, an international gateway for NSW,” he said.