Western Sydney Airport has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Qantas and Virgin Australia airline groups that gives both airline groups the opportunity to have a say in the design and plan for the airport being built at Badgerys Creek in the city’s west.
Areas of collaboration between the airlines and airport under the MOU included the passenger terminal and boarding, technology and innovation opportunities – particularly around baggage handling, security and customer service, and airport access, including train stations, parking and rideshare facilities.
They will also provide input on airfreight and cargo facilities and sustainability, including resource reuse and recycling, Western Sydney Airport said on Thursday.
In addition to offering their insights for the $5.3 billion project due to open in 2026, Western Sydney Airport chief executive Graham Millett said there would also be discussions on future Jetstar, Qantas, Tigerair Australia and Virgin Australia services at the airport.
“The insights we’ll gain from working with the airlines help us build an airport that people will love using,” Millett said in a statement.
Further, Millet described the MOU as a “tremendous vote of confidence in Sydney’s new international airport from the airlines”.
“Australian airlines have long been advocates of Western Sydney gaining its own airport,” Millett said.
“We look forward to working with them as we deliver jobs and opportunities to the region.”
Qantas group chief executive Alan Joyce said it was not often an airline was asked help design an airport from scratch.
“This a chance to create a great experience for passengers and a high level of efficiency for airlines, which helps us keep fares lower,” Joyce said in the Western Sydney Airport statement.
Joyce described the airport as “an important part of Australia’s aviation future”.
“Given the size and significance of New South Wales to the national economy, a second airport is exactly what we need to keep growing. The potential is huge,” he said.
Virgin Australia group chief executive Paul Scurrah said the MOU offered a chance to collaborate early in the planning phase and was a “great example of industry partners working together to help shape the best travel experience”.
“Western Sydney has the unique opportunity to build a new airport from the ground up to meet the evolving needs of future passengers,” Scurrah said in the Western Sydney Airport statement.
“We’re looking forward to sharing our ideas to help make the airport a great experience and ensure it supports future operational requirements.”
We're thrilled to sign MOUs with @Qantas and @VirginAustralia to start discussing possible international and domestic routes using Western Sydney International. We'll also gain their planning insights into ensuring their passengers love using Sydney's new international airport. pic.twitter.com/1yw0ka2PpV
— Western Sydney International Airport (@flyWSA) June 6, 2019
The federal government announced in March 2019 that the airport would be called Western Sydney International Nancy-Bird Walton Airport in honour of one of Australia’s greatest aviators.
The airport’s construction started at Badgerys Creek in Sydney’s west in September 2018 after being put on the back burner for several decades.
When completed, it will serve an immediate catchment of 2.5 million people.
Western Sydney Airport chief executive Graham Millett spoke to the Australian Aviation podcast in November 2018. The podcast can be found here.