Work to build Western Sydney Airport has begun, with ground broken today on the once-in-a-generation project.
“Today marks both the end of a long journey and the start of an exciting new one,” Western Sydney Airport Chief Executive Graham Millett said.
“It’s been talked about for decades, but now we’re ending the speculation – Western Sydney Airport is coming.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison today gave the signal for earthmovers to roll into position and begin the mammoth task of preparing the site.
“The site is very challenging; the difference between the highest and lowest points is the equivalent of a 12-storey building,” Millett said.
“These initial earthworks will help prepare the ground for eventual runway and terminal construction.”
The initial earthworks phase of construction is expected to take until the end of 2019. It involves moving around 1.8 million cubic metres of earth, which is the equivalent of about 720 Olympic swimming pools.
This significant task pales in comparison to the challenge ahead of Western Sydney Airport’s major earthworks. Due to begin in 2019, major earthworks will shift 22 million cubic metres of earth – more than three times the amount moved to build the nearby 41-kilometre M7 motorway.
“Building Western Sydney Airport is one of the biggest earthmoving challenges in Australian history,” Millett said.
A workforce of around 180 people will carry out the initial earthworks. Over the course of the airport construction project, 11,000 jobs are set to be created, with a target of at least one-third coming from Western Sydney.
“Western Sydney Airport will generate prosperity in the region; our local employment target means that starts now,” Millett said.
Western Sydney Airport is due to open in 2026 and will be a full-service airport with international, domestic and regional flights. It will also cater for freight flights, opening up new possibilities for Australian exporters and helping to tackle the nation’s growing freight task.
“Both Qantas and Virgin have committed to flying from Western Sydney Airport,” Millett said.
“That’s a major vote of confidence and reflects the strong growth forecasts for the Asia-Pacific aviation market.”