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Sydney Airport finally turns down chance to build new airport at Badgerys Creek

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Sydney Airport has turned down the opportunity to build and operate the new airport at Badgerys Creek because of the “considerable risks” its investors would bear for decades.

In delivering the worst-kept secret in local aviation, the ASX-listed Sydney Airport said the terms of any deal with the federal government for the construction and operation of Western Sydney Airport failed its “investment criteria”.

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Badgerys Creek residents split on future

A new airport is set to radically reshape Badgerys Creek in Sydney’s west – for good or bad.

The owner of Australia’s largest airport had until next Monday to reveal its hand after the Turnbull government issued in December a notice of intention, under which it could exercise its first option to build the new Badgerys Creek airport.

However, Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said its decision not to accept the notice of intention for Western Sydney Airport was “in the best interests of our investors who represent millions of Australians through their superannuation funds”.

“The risks associated with the development and operation of WSA are considerable and endure for many decades without commensurate returns for our investors,” she said.

Last month the Turnbull government said it had undertaken significant work to ensure timetables for construction would be met if Sydney Airport decided against building the new airport, citing meetings in recent weeks with nine large construction companies.

Sydney Airport CEO Kerrie Mather: Company won't build Badgerys Creek. Sydney Airport CEO Kerrie Mather: Company won’t build Badgerys Creek. Photo: Anthony Johnson

The plans are for bulldozers to begin moving tens of thousands of tonnes of earth at the 1700-hectare site at Badgerys Creek, about 50 kilometres from the CBD, by the end of next year and for a 3.7-kilometre runway and terminal capable of handling 10 million passengers a year to open by 2026.

Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher has said the two options would be for the government to build and operate the airport itself, or to go to market to choose another private sector party.

Unlike Sydney Airport, the new airport will not have a curfew on night-time flying. That will give it a better chance of competing against its much larger neighbour at Mascot.

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