SYDNEY (AFP) - Sydney-bound holidaymakers will soon have more options to reach Australia's largest city, which on Monday (Sept 24) broke ground on a new US$3.6 billion (S$4.9 billion) airport.
"Western Sydney Airport" is scheduled to open in 2026 as part of an effort to deal with booming air traffic numbers.
"It's great to see this happening," said Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the opening. "This issue has been around for longer than I have been living on the planet," the 50-year-old added, joking about long-running planning delays.
The number of air passengers globally is projected to nearly double to 7.8 billion by 2036.
Sydney is expected to double passenger numbers within the next two decades, with low-cost airlines continuing to provide much of the growth - driving down fares on longer routes and stimulating demand.
Supporters of the project say that even if flight restrictions on Sydney's current airport were lifted, it would not be able to handle expected passenger numbers.
In the first phase, Western Sydney Airport will be able to handle around 10 million passengers a year, around a quarter of the current total landing at the present facility.