The construction of Western Sydney Airport (WSA) began on September 24, 2018. The project in Badgerys Creek, Australia will be designed with 21st-century thinking in mind and will be completed by 2026. It shall have infrastructure to support various modes of transportation to get to and from the airport, with ride-sharing services as a primary option.
Further, Western Sydney Airport will be constructed on a 1800-hectare plot of land, allowing for plenty of space for disruptive technologies, such as urban air mobility aircraft flights. WSA Chief Executive Officer Graham Millet is a strong advocate for the airport as a testbed for passenger and freight drones, as demonstrated by integrating this forethought into the planning of the new airport.
While the Australian city in which Uber Air’s aerial ride-sharing network will be stood up has not yet been determined, Western Sydney Airport has now made a case for Sydney as the host city. Uber has articulated that the ideal cities are those with high population density and heavy traffic, particularly to a big airport.
Similar to Singapore’s word-class Changi Airport, Millet aims for WSA to be a destination not just for travelers. It will host art exhibitions, gymnasiums, shops, and other attractions, all while keeping operational costs low and ground transport traffic as light as possible. Millet has also already reached out to Uber in hope to ignite discussions between the two regarding drone operations in Australia.
The Australian federal government is allocating approximately $5.3 billion to the Western Sydney Airport, and it is possible that a portion of the budget can be seen going toward sky ports. This is the first outspoken plan for an airport to plan a preemptive integration of drone air mobility operations and could subsequently jumpstart future worldwide efforts.
Why its important: Western Sydney Airport sets a precedent as the first airport to plan for infrastructure to support passenger and freight drones – such as Uber Elevate sky ports – in an attempt to alleviate ground transport and jumpstart air mobility operations in Australia.