Clear skies for Western Sydney Airport
10 October 2022
Set to open in late 2026, the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport site is a hive of activity. It is named in honour of Nancy-Bird Walton, a prominent Australian aviator (Source: Australian Museum 2021).
Sydney’s new airport is being established on a 1,780-hectare site – around 3 times the size of the Sydney CBD. The airport is a transformational infrastructure project that will:
- generate economic activity
- provide long-term employment opportunities closer to home for people in the Western Sydney region
- meet Sydney's growing aviation needs.
It will cater to domestic and international passengers, and handle freight with modern cargo facilities. From opening, the airport will have the capacity to cater for up to 10 million passengers annually. It will continue to grow through to the 2060s to an expected capacity of more than 80 million passengers a year.
The latest technology means the airport can continue operating in weather and fog conditions that would currently close Sydney’s skies. Its 24/7, curfew free operations will support faster and easier access to global markets.
Accessibility and sustainability are integral to the airport’s design. Both values have become increasingly important to travellers. Both are priorities of THRIVE 2030, the national long-term strategy to return the visitor economy to sustainable growth.
Designing an airport accessible to all
Accessibility needs to be considered to cater for the needs of Australia’s ageing population and the one in 6 Australians living with a disability (Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).
Tourists with a disability spend an estimated $3.2 billion. The sector’s true value is likely to be closer to $8 billion when including the travel party (Source: Tourism Research Australia, Accessible Tourism in Victoria and Queensland, 2017).
As part of the early design phase, airport engineers and designers worked with consultants and local groups like Wheelchair Rugby to understand common issues based on lived experience. Continued consultation and engagement with groups will ensure inclusivity and accessibility regardless of physical limitations, disability or age.
Sustainable design for a 21st century airport
The new airport terminal’s natural design pays tribute to Western Sydney’s rich Aboriginal heritage.
The terminal roof will be productive, generating solar electricity and harvesting rainwater. Sustainable and recycled materials will be used throughout the terminal, including the structure, finishes and furniture.
The terminal is designed to use energy- and water-efficient fittings and equipment. This will create a healthy environment for passengers and workers, providing generous daylight and ventilation.
Around 117 hectares of land have been set aside as an Environmental Conservation Zone. The land will be protected through the life of the airport.
Western Sydney Aerotropolis to deliver new jobs
The Western Sydney Aerotropolis will become a thriving economic centre in Western Sydney.
The Aerotropolis will benefit from proximity to the new Western Sydney Airport. It will contribute towards 200,000 new jobs in the Western Parkland City. It will also become a high-skill jobs hub across:
- aerospace and defence
- freight and logistics
- research industries.
From St Marys to the new airport and the Western Sydney Aerotropolis, the Sydney Metro–Western Sydney Airport project will provide a major economic stimulus for Western Sydney. It will support more than 14,000 jobs during construction for the NSW and national economies.
The new 23-kilometre railway will link residential areas with job hubs, including the new Aerotropolis. It will connect travellers from Western Sydney Airport to the rest of Sydney’s public transport system.
Under THRIVE 2030, Austrade, Tourism Australia, and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts are working cooperatively to maximise the return of inbound aviation capacity.
Visit THRIVE 2030 to learn about this industry-led, government-enabled strategy to support Australia’s visitor economy.