Large sign with the wording Taking off from Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport - black and white image of Nancy-Bird Walton below text

Nancy-Bird Walton immortalised at Western Sydney Airport

Media release
04 Mar 2019
Prime Minister, Minister for Finance and the Public Service, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Cities Urban Infrastructure and Population

Australia’s biggest aviation project will honour one of the nation’s trailblazing stars of the sky.

The $5.3 billion Western Sydney Airport will officially become Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport – recognising the iconic pilot’s contribution to Australia. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport would transform Sydney.

“Western Sydney airport is a truly visionary project that will transform our city, recognising the economic powerhouse that is Western Sydney, creating 28,000 jobs within five years of opening, while delivering new tourism and trade opportunities in Sydney and Australia,” the Prime Minister said.

“This is an airport for the people of Western Sydney that will enable them to continue to secure their economic future.

“Our Government’s decision to make this airport a reality after generations of delay, is a sign of our commitment to the people of Western Sydney and our determination to get things done. While others talked about it, we took action and made it happen.

“It is fitting that having recognised Charles Kingsford Smith at Sydney Airport that we now recognise Australia’s greatest female aviation pioneer, Nancy-Bird Walton in the naming of Western Sydney Airport.

“Nancy-Bird Walton was an inspiring and natural choice.

“Nancy-Bird Walton is an Australian legend, a pioneer whose determination to take to the sky is an inspiration for generations who have followed. At just 17, Nancy-Bird enrolled at Charles Kingsford-Smith’s flying school at Mascot.

“Nancy-Bird was the first female pilot in Australia, and the Commonwealth, to be licenced to carry passengers and began her career flying nurses to the outback to provide medical services for children and their mothers.”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said Nancy-Bird Walton was a champion for female aviators and it was fitting to honour her achievements.

Last Friday, Mr McCormack attended a roundtable meeting of industry leaders as part of an initiative to enhance and encourage greater gender diversity in the aviation industry.

“Nancy-Bird Walton trained female pilots during World War II and in 1950 established the Australian Women’s Pilots’ Association, which she remained president of until 1990,” he said.

“I imagine she would be pleased to know about this new initiative and that women in aviation are being put in the spotlight.”

Minister for Finance and the Public Service, Senator Mathias Cormann, acknowledged Nancy-Bird’s family and their support in naming the airport in her honour.  

“With our $5.3 billion investment delivering this airport, we are focused and inspired by her great legacy to deliver an airport that all Australians can be proud of,” Minister Cormann said.

Liberal Senator for Western Sydney and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport would be a gateway to the world.

“Naming the airport in honour of Nancy-Bird Walton will help ensure that her valuable contribution to aviation will be remembered for generations to come,” Minister Payne said.

“The airport will be a major employment hub, bringing more jobs and opportunities closer to where western Sydney residents live.”

The Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the airport’s name was an integral next step to welcoming flights into Western Sydney.

“Construction of Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport is on schedule and from 2026 will operate side by side with Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport,” Minister Tudge said.

“This is the beginning of a new era for Western Sydney, with unprecedented jobs and investment in the region – all stemming from the Morrison Government’s $5.3 billion investment in Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport.”