The countdown is on until the first plane takes off at Western Sydney International (WSI) Airport and with terminal and airfield construction underway, the site is starting to look more like an airport.

With only four years left until the rubber hits the runway, Western Sydney Airport (WSA) Chief Executive, Simon Hickey, said the project has achieved some major milestones this year and is on track to welcome passengers in 2026.

“We are nearing completion of major earthworks on the biggest earthmoving project in Australia’s history, which has seen us move 24 out of 26 million cubic metres of earth,” Mr Hickey said. “This has been a huge feat when you consider the enormity of the project. The Western Sydney International site is three times the size of the Sydney CBD and will eventually become Sydney’s biggest airport.”

The CPB Contractors, ACCIONA joint venture, will this year begin work on the runway and taxiways, which will include the installation of more than 40km of roads and 3000 aeronautical ground lights.

BMD Constructions and Seymour Whyte joint venture have been contracted to construct the carparks, roads, bridges, utilities connections, operational buildings, and landscaping.

This includes integrating the new M12 Motorway, which will connect the airport to Sydney’s motorway network, and the airport’s two stations on the Sydney Metro – Western Sydney Airport line, with one stop at the passenger terminal and the other at the Business Precinct.

Multiplex is making great progress on WSI’s state-of-the-art terminal, which incorporates a seamless mix of Australia’s natural beauty, the region’s rich Aboriginal heritage, and strong sustainability elements.

Domestic and international gates will be located under the one structure and designed to expand with capacity as the airport’s second runway comes online in the 2050s.

With the terminal slab being poured and three out of four jump forms erected to support the steel framework of the terminal, Western Parkland City’s skyline is beginning to take shape. “There is no doubt that WSI is a project that will benefit generations to come.

Our airport, cargo and business precinct plans will be designed in a way that will evolve with demand to eventually become Australia’s biggest gateway for passengers and air cargo,” Mr Hickey said. “From day one of operating, WSI will have the third largest catchment of any Australian airport and capacity for ten million passengers a year.”

The most recent major contract was awarded to DXC Technology at the end of 2021 to deliver the foundational technology platforms in partnership with Western Sydney Airport. This will see WSA leverage innovative technology to transform the customer experience and optimise efficiency for passengers and airlines alike.

“The airport’s design is pioneering and ambitious. We’re building a terminal that caters for technology and innovation that, in some instances, has not been invented, to ensure our customers have a seamless and convenient airport experience for decades to come.”

“At Western Sydney International, lost luggage will be much rarer. Our technology will allow passengers to track their baggage, removing the anxious wait at the baggage carousel that we are all too familiar with at other airports,” Mr Hickey said.

Ground transport links will also create a seamless experience to connect passengers from the airport to the aerotropolis and surrounding Western Parkland City. The central and western end of the 16km toll-free M12 Motorway contract was recently awarded, and Metro will commence work before the end of the year.

“Everything about Western Sydney International will be focused on our customers. Whether that’s our passengers, the airlines they fly with or our air cargo partners, we’re taking advantage of building a new airport from the ground up to ensure the experience is unlike any other Australian airport,” Mr Hickey said.

“Whether you’re flying for business, leisure or reuniting with loved ones around the world, we’ll draw on new technology, backed up by a clever layout and great transport links to ensure that when people choose our airport, their experience will be fast, seamless and reliable.”

Award-winning sustainability in the spotlight

WSI’s innovative and pioneering sustainability measures have earned the project an ‘Excellent’ Design IS rating certificate for their major earthworks, awarded by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council.

“Sustainable design, energy efficiency and circular economy principles are front of mind as we design the airport and it’s a great accomplishment for this to be acknowledged by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council,” Mr Hickey said.

In what has been hailed as one of WSI’s most significant construction sustainability measures to date, more than 4.5 million tonnes of sandstone have been transported from the Metro and WestConnex tunnelling sites for use at the airport.

“The high-quality crushed sandstone is being used to construct heavy vehicle roads on the airport site as well as a supportive layer, which will sit beneath taxiways and the runway,” Mr Hickey said.

“This is about proven and sensible sustainability and efficiency, reusing resources and reducing carbon emissions. “WSA is continuing to engage with other infrastructure projects, industry peak bodies, and suppliers to learn from their experience and understand different sustainability options and opportunities,” Mr Hickey said.

“At Western Sydney International, effective water management is one of our top priorities. We’re very proud to say around 98 per cent of the water used on our site so far is recycled water.”

The WSI site has also trialled a world-first innovation by retrofitting a drum compactor with grading technology to increase efficiency and safety when compacting earth. This has had flow on effects on site by improving safety through plant minimisation, reducing fuel, and increasing precision.

Investment in jobs and the local community

Mr Hickey said Sydney’s new international airport will be a game-charger, creating a new era of jobs and opportunities for many decades to come.

“Around half of the project’s workforce are Western Sydney locals and we’re exceeding our First Nations employment targets. This number will increase over the next few years as the project reaches peak activity,” Mr Hickey said.

“We are committed to empowering our Western Sydney community to take advantage of the jobs and opportunities the airport will deliver to their doorstep.” “We are also investing locally, injecting more than $100 million into Western Sydney businesses during construction so far, with a lot more to come.”

To mark the launch of Western Sydney Airport’s first Reconciliation Action Plan, a 500m geoglyph was installed earlier this year alongside the airport’s runway that can be seen by air.

WSI also recently opened its Connectivity Centre, a one-stop shop providing holistic support to jobseekers by coordinating a range of services to help jobseekers secure sustainable employment.

Located in the Penrith CBD, the Connectivity Centre is a collaboration between WSI, Multiplex and TAFE NSW. It also includes wrap-around services with all levels of government to support members of the community including First Nations support, migrants and refugees, emergency housing, as well as charity groups and local schools.

“We want to ensure Western Sydney International drives generational change and social uplift, creating opportunities for those who need it most and setting them up for success long after the airport is built,” Mr Hickey said.

With sustainability and social impact at the heart of the project, WSA has already donated 400t of asphalt to the Luddenham Show Society for resurfacing local roads and pavements in the nearby village.  “The airport can only be as successful as the region it serves so we’re playing our part in the sustainability of Western Sydney and its surrounds,” Mr Hickey said.

 

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