Western Sydney Airport opens up to air cargo operators

The airport is underconstruction and will start operations in 2026. It expects to process around 220,000 tonnes of cargo on its initial stage.


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Photo credit: MDRX / Wikimedia Commons

Western Sydney Airport looks to capitalise on air freight as it opened up for registrations of interest for companies looking to set up cargo operations in Australia’s soon-to-be air hub.

Registrations of interest are sought specifically from existing cargo terminal operators, the airport noted. Cargo operators or handlers at major airports that need a standalone facility are also welcome to apply.

Chief executive Simon Hickey is eyeing to become one of Australia’s most important air cargo hubs and is looking to build on early engagement with air cargo partners.

The airport, named after the founder of the Australian Women Pilots’ Association, Nancy Bird Walton, will start operations in 2026, and Hickey said the ‘air cargo precinct’ will operate round the clock with direct airside access to ensure efficient access to global markets.

The cargo precinct will include loading, staging and apron areas, taxiways, ground-level parking, a truck staging area for b-double access and manoeuvring. It will also have options for dedicated aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul hangars.

Air cargo has been the bright spot for aviation over the last year and the trend continues. Asia Pacific’s airlines saw cargo volume grow more than 16 percent in March year on year on the back of rising business confidence and e-commerce growth, according to AAPA.

Western Sydney’s chief said the first stage of the cargo precinct will include a dedicated cargo vehicle access point leading to 75,000 square metres of cargo terminals, with 18 to 54 hectares of developable land to expand.

“Western Sydney International’s air cargo precinct is strategically located close to major logistics centres and is connected by billions of dollars of investment in upgraded arterial roads and the new M12 motorway,” Hickey said.

The airport expects to process around 220,000 tonnes of cargo when it starts operations, with plans to grow to 1.8 million tonnes of air cargo annually in the future. So far, it has already signed agreements with 12 companies, including airlines Qantas, Virgin and express delivery FedEx and Australia Post, Payload Asia learned.

“Developing a greenfield airport gives the air cargo industry an unprecedented opportunity to take advantage of a flexible and future-proof layout that can respond to changing demands and new market opportunities,” Hickey added.

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