A second international airport is being built at Badgerys Creek in Sydney and is due to open in 2026. It will be named after Australian aviation pioneer Nancy-Bird Walton.

You may recognise Nancy-Bird, as the first Qantas Airbus A380 is named after her. Honoured with both an AO and an MBE, she is one of Australia’s greatest aviators.

Nancy-Bird Walton

Enrolling in Charles Kingsford-Smith’s flying school at Mascot, at 19 she earned her wings. This made her the first female pilot in Australia and the Commonwealth licenced to carry passengers.

Born in Kew, New South Wales on 16 October 1915, flying was always her passion. Once licenced, she assisted with medical work in the Australian Outback, using her Gipsy Moth initially, then a more suitable aircraft later.

Winning the Ladies Trophy for an Adelaide to Brisbane Air Race in 1936, she stopped flying for a time soon after. Next she went to Europe to do promotional work for KLM, before returning to Australia to assist in training women in skills needed to back up the men during World War II.

In 1950, she founded the Australian Women’s Pilot’s Association (AWPA) and became its first president. She was declared a living national treasure by the National Trust of Australia in 1977. Nancy-Bird Walton passed away at the ripe old age of 93 on 13 January 2009.

Western Sydney Airport

Sydney is currently served by a facility at Mascot, where regular flights started in 1924. Located on the shores of Botany Bay, it is constrained by both an artificial cap on movements as well as a lack of land to expand.

A second airport has been on the cards for many years, with the land at Badgerys Creek acquired between 1986 and 1991. The final site decision was confirmed in 1999 and construction of Western Sydney Airport is now underway.

Overall Thoughts

I feel naming the new Sydney Airport facility after Nancy-Bird Walton to be very fitting. First, she is a legitimate pioneer and worthy of the honour. Secondly, it just works as one airport is named after a man and the other a woman. Excellent for these times of equal recognition.

What do you think of the choice of name? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Images via Wikimedia Commons.