Economic benefits seen with airport in the 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, 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 needed 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 option for a second airport.

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.

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".

Western and north-west Sydney's two-million-strong population gives it a strong claim for its own airport.

North-west Sydney resident Kylie Hungerford said a second airport was necessary but it needed to be accessible for not only west and north-west Sydney residents, but also people who lived in the Blue Mountains and Central Coast.

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