Australia to decide on second Sydney airport site by end-2013

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Canberra will decide by the end of the year whether to proceed with building a second Sydney airport at the long-favoured site of Badgery’s Creek.

In a speech opening Airservices Australia's Waypoint conference, assistant transport minister Jamie Briggs says he expects the government to make a decision on the site before Christmas, which will “provide certainty to the aviation sector.”

Badgery’s Creek was selected in the 1980s as the preferred site for a second airport, but the previous government favoured building the airport at an alternative site in Wilton.

A report from the Department of Infrastructure and Transport released last year noted, however, that the Wilton site would present significant environmental and technical challenges. The department has since been undertaking further geotechnical analysis of the site.

In July, IATA chief executive Tony Tyler called on the government to move forward with selecting and building a second airport. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce has also called for faster progress on the issue.

During the recent election campaign, the previous Labor government had promised to start construction of a second airport, likely at Badgery's Creek, in the next three years if it was re-elected.

Recent government studies have suggested that Sydney’s existing airport at Mascot will not have enough slots to meet demand by 2033, which would ultimately impact the country’s economy.

Sydney airport handled a record 36.9 million passengers in 2012, an increase of 3.6% year on year.