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Canberra sets up firm to kick off Western Sydney airport project

Australia’s government has incorporated WSA Co, a government-owned entity that will develop Western Sydney Airport.

Minister for urban infrastructure Paul Fletcher and finance minister Matthias Cormann announced in a joint statement on 7 August that the government will invest up to A$5.3 billion ($4.21 billion) in WSA Co.

Paul O’Sullivan has also been named WSA Co’s inaugural chairman. He is the former chief executive and present chairman of telecommunications company Singtel Optus.

“His deep experience leading an infrastructure business as it established market share against a long established incumbent will be of great value as Western Sydney Airport is planned and constructed before commencing operations by 2026,” says Fletcher.

Three other directors – Fiona Balfour, Tim Eddy and Christine Spring – have also been appointed to the board.

“The board's early priorities will be to recruit its CEO and senior management and to commence procurement of construction activities,” says Fletcher.

Canberra committed to building the facility in May after Sydney Airports Corporation declined to exercise its right of first refusal over concerns that it would not be viable to develop the airport without government funding.

When the first stage opens in 2026, the airport will have a single 3,700m runway and a terminal capable of handling 10 million passengers per annum.

The airport will play a key role in providing additional aviation capacity in the Sydney region. The slot-constrained Kingsford-Smith International airport is expected to reach saturation by 2025.

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