Second airport would be 'benefit for west'

A SECOND airport in western Sydney would generate jobs and boost the region's economy, experts say.

With the number of airport passengers expected to double in the next 23 years, debate has raged over the best plan of action for Sydney's aviation future.

The Sydney Business Chamber's western Sydney director, and former Lord Mayor of Parramatta, David Borger, said the area needed a major airport.

"A major airport would be a game changer for the western Sydney economy," Mr Borger said.

"It would energise a whole raft of industries and create thousands of professional service jobs that would have a transformative impact on people who live in western Sydney and the way our entire city functions."

But he said the location needs to be determined after consultation with the community and the 150,000 businesses in the region.

Earlier this year a joint study into aviation capacity in the Sydney region recommended Badgerys Creek as the preferred greenfield option.

In 1986 the federal government nominated the site and acquired 1700 hectares for the project.

But the current federal government ruled out the site, instead nominating Wilton in Sydney's south-west as its preferred location.

Premier Barry O'Farrell has indicated his support for Canberra to be used as Sydney's second airport with a high-speed rail link between the two cities.

The study also stated Richmond RAAF Base was capable of accommodating civil traffic, but would need a significant upgrade to airport infrastructure.

A Defence spokesman said it supported opening the base to civil traffic "while ensuring that the ability to generate the appropriate military capability is maintained".

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