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Western Sydney Airport starts to take shape

written by Hannah Dowling | November 3, 2021
An aerial shot of the current state of Western Sydney Airport after 20 million cubic metres of earth has been moved. (WSA)

Construction is well underway at Western Sydney’s Nancy Bird Walton International Airport, with over 20 million cubic metres of earth removed to make way for the beginnings of the airport’s soon-to-be runway.

New images released by the airport show how much earth has been cleared in preparation for the construction of the airport’s runway, taxiways and terminal, all due to begin construction in the coming months.

The airport has said it will use recycled materials, such as crushed sandstone, from other Sydney projects to reduce its environmental impact.

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Initial earthworks on the 1,780-hectare site began in 2018, while major earthworks began in 2020. The airport is slated to open for business in 2026.

An illustration of the terminal, runway and cargo centre layout at Western Sydney International Airport. (WSA)

The airport has said over $100 million has already been invested into local businesses in Western Sydney since construction began.

“Construction of Western Sydney International has already led to more than $100 million being contracted to businesses across Western Sydney and we are only at the beginning of the build,” said Western Sydney Airport chief executive officer Simon Hickey.

“These Western Sydney businesses – from Indigenous businesses to small and family-run businesses – are delivering equipment and services we need to build Sydney’s new airport.

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“Beyond this direct investment, we know the flow-on effects of this economic stimulus go much further when it comes to boosting the local economy, whether it’s the construction worker buying lunch at the local café or refuelling at the local petrol station.”

“This is just the beginning – the employment and investment opportunities for Western Sydney will continue to significantly increase once terminal construction commences later this year and runway construction begins in 2022.”

Hickey said WSA is continuing to exceed all employment targets for local, Indigenous and learning workers.

At present, over half of the workforce involved in construction of the airport are local to Western Sydney, exceeding the airport’s target of 30 per cent local employees.

“This project will be a game-changer for Western Sydney locals who want to work closer to home and have more time to spend with their families, not just in the construction phase, but for many decades to come,” Hickey said.

“It’s more important than ever that a nation-building project like Western Sydney International gets on with the task of creating jobs and driving the local investment Western Sydney needs to recover from the pandemic.”

In September, the airport announced it had selected two contractors for the construction of its runway, due to begin in 2022.

The business said the resulting runway would be only one in the city equipped with technology that would allow aircraft to safely take off and land in foggy conditions that currently “shut down Sydney’s skies”.

CPB Contractors, with its joint venture partner Acciona, won the contract worth $265 million after what was described as a competitive procurement process.

It’s the third project awarded by Western Sydney to the joint venture, following the earlier award of two earthworks packages. The runway and airport are due to be operational in 2026.

Hickey said the airfield design will reduce taxi times and prevent delays for passengers. It will also be able to accommodate the next generation of ultra-long-haul airliners such as the A350-1000 and Boeing 777X.

The business said it would be the “only airport in Sydney” equipped with a CAT III-B instrument landing system.

“Western Sydney International will continue operating safely in foggy conditions that currently shut down Sydney’s skies,” Hickey said.

“Our airfield will be future-ready, designed for expansion with consideration for emerging technologies such as electric aircraft.”

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