Sydney Airport says no to second airport at Badgerys Creek

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Passengers walk towards the departures area at Sydney International Airport, Australia, March 23, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

The ASX-listed Sydney Airport says no to an offer from the federal government to build a second airport at Badgerys Creek. Chief executive Kerrie Mather declared that the company’s decision not to accept the notice of intention reflects the interests of investors.

Sydney Airport announced it would not pursue the development of the Western Sydney Airport (WSA) through an ASX release on Tuesday. "Sydney Airport's decision not to accept the [Western Sydney Airport notice of intention] on the terms provided is in the best interests of our investors who represent millions of Australians through their superannuation funds," the statement reads.

Mather explained in the release that the risks linked with the development and operation of WSA would mean no commensurate returns for their investors for years. The release notes that Sydney Airport has three months to reassess the material terms of the WSA operation.

No surprise

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce reacted to Sydney Airport’s announcement, saying he was not surprised that it declined to accept the offer. "I always thought they'd play us along as long as possible and then say no," ABC quoted him saying.

Despite Sydney Airport’s decision, Joyce hinted that the project would still push through with the federal government in control. Joyce said one thing that he is absolutely certain about is that he and the prime minister want to build Badgerys Creek.

The minister explained that the project is significantly essential and now that Sydney Airport corporation has declined the government’s offer, he said they will get to work and ensure they find people who would be interested to support the development of the project.

Malcolm Turnbull’s government previously said it had done significant work to ensure timetables for construction shall be met if Sydney Airport declined to build the airport. The plan includes talks with at least nine huge construction companies.

Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher said Sydney Airport’s decision leaves the government with two options, Sydney Morning Herald reported. One is to build and operate the airport itself or explore on the market and pick another private sector party.

The new airport will reportedly not have a curfew on night-time flying, which is expected to give it a better chance to compete against its much bigger neighbour at Mascot. Macquarie equities analysts estimated the cost of building the project, which is due for completion by 2026, to be about $5.4 billion. In other news, check out CBS This Morning’s report below regarding some airlines’ passenger compensation policies.

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