A foregone conclusion: Cabinet confirmed Badgerys Creek as the site for Sydney's second airport. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Canberra Airport remains on track to host direct international flights despite the announcement a second Sydney airport could be operating within a decade.
The ACT's political and business leaders say Canberra will be well established as a hub for flights to Asia and possibly the United States many years before the proposed airport at Badgerys Creek begins operations.
Capital Airport Group chairman Terry Snow, Prime Minister Tony Abbot and Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron during the formal opening of the new Canberra Airport on April 4. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
The decision may mean the first leg of the high-speed rail network - between Canberra and Sydney - will be modified to include Badgerys Creek.
While Canberra Airport has previously positioned itself as a de facto second airport for Sydney, it welcomed the announcement on Tuesday of the Badgerys Creek project.
Managing director Stephen Byron said passengers flying from Canberra to Sydney - which make up a third of flights out of the national capital - would benefit from reduced congestion in Sydney once the second airport was built.
''We welcome it, it's good news - we've always said Sydney desperately needs a second airport and needs it soon,'' he said.
''We've always said Badgerys Creek is not only the best site, it is the only site and it ought to happen and be delivered. It's very nice to see the recognition by governments of the economic importance of airports and the role that airports play in creating jobs and driving the economy.
''Having said all of that, the reality is this airport won't be delivered … until mid next decade and that's the best case.''
Mr Byron said the current landing limit of 80 aircraft per hour at Sydney airport should be lifted and the curfew made more flexible.
''Canberra has a third of its flights go to Sydney airport so the effectiveness and efficiency of Sydney airport is critical, and that's why we welcome Badgerys Creek and that's why we want to make the most out of Sydney's operating capability now,'' he said.
Canberra Airport is hoping Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Etihad or Cathay Pacific will run direct flights to Singapore and Hong Kong.
Mr Byron also said the federal government should lift the ban on direct flights from the national capital to the US.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said a second airport for Sydney was the right decision to relieve congestion.
''But it doesn't impact Canberra at all in terms of the plans we have got working with the airport around international flights or the role that Canberra Airport could play as a major freight hub for the region,'' she said.
''Badgerys Creek is years away from having a fully functioning and fully ready airport, which we already have here in Canberra.
''Canberra Airport services a population in the ACT region of between 650,000 and 800,000 people, who are still going to be closer to Canberra Airport than they are to Sydney.
''Hopefully direct international flights are just a matter of time and I don't think these plans are going to be impacted by this decision by the federal government.''
ACT Chamber of Commerce CEO Andrew Blyth said a second Sydney airport was not a problem for the future of Canberra Airport.
"We are talking maybe two decades for Badgerys, whereas Canberra Airport is ready today and it's without curfew,'' he said. "Potentially we're talking 10 federal elections away before Badgerys Creek is up and running.
''However, down the road, Canberra Airport will be running 24/7 so I don't see this [announcement] as a problem for Canberra Airport.''
Canberra Business Council CEO Chris Faulks said, on balance, the second Sydney airport would have no negative effect on Canberra Airport and on business in the ACT.
''Badgerys Creek will take a decade at least and possibly more by the time the planning, the environmental assessment and the construction takes place,'' she said.
''The opportunity for Canberra and the region is for us to commence direct international flights, initially to new Zealand and Singapore.
''This will have the effect of substantially boosting business and visitor tourism to the national capital.
''We will have 10 years to establish that international traffic to Canberra before Badgerys Creek comes on line.''
Ms Faulks said the other piece of the infrastructure puzzle to be put into place was high-speed rail.
''The ideal first stage of a high-speed rail network from Melbourne to Brisbane along the east coast of Australia would be Canberra to Sydney, and that could easily swing via Badgerys Creek, which would assist people landing in Badgerys Creek to get into the city in as short a time as possible,'' Ms Faulks said.