A 40 year campaign soon to take flight

David Trist – 1982 (below) and 2024. Photos supplied by Mark Pentecost.

IN 1984, the Commonwealth government held a meeting in St Marys to discuss the possibility of a new airport in western Sydney. Legend of the Nepean David Trist AOM was the Bank Manager of the Commonwealth Bank in St Marys at that time and attended the meeting as a member of St Marys Chamber of Commerce.

Enthused by the opportunities an airport at Badgery’s Creek presented for employment and the Penrith district’s economy, David began a tireless journey of advocacy, consultation and lobbying that would continue for the next 40 years.

On Saturday 22nd June at the 4th Annual Open Day at the Western Sydney International Airport (Nancy-Bird Walton), David was among 1,600 visitors who were transported around the site and shown how far the airport construction has come along.

This year’s Open Day welcomed the largest number of community members since the community days were launched in 2021, with approximately 4,000 people in total to attend over the four years. More than 70,000 people have visited the Experience Centre (which is open every week).

Western Sydney International Airport ‘fast facts’:

Currently, around half of the 3,500-strong team working on the construction of WSI live locally in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains. 

When the first stage of the airport opens, around 8,000 jobs are anticipated to be required across the 1,780-hectare airport precinct. 

‘Learning’ workers, which include trainees, graduates, apprentices and workers training to upgrade their qualifications and skills, currently account for 30 per cent of the workforce. 

The airport has invested more than half a billion dollars with approximately 360 Western Sydney businesses since the start of construction in 2017. 

As of June 2024, the construction of WSI is about 80% complete. It remains on time and on budget to welcome airlines and passengers in late 2026.