After decades of inaction by Labor and coalition governments it took Tony Abbott to do some plane talking.
The prime minister put the second Sydney airport decision in a nutshell when he told reporters: “There has been too much studying and too little deciding.”
When the NSW government began thinking about a second Sydney airport in 1964, the Beatles had eight number one singles, EH Holden cars were the rage and Tony Abbott was in short pants at St Aloysius College, Milson’s Point.
The federal government first took a look at it in 1969.
The host site, Badgerys Creek, is not without its political problems but they will be manageable.
The key will be how Labor decides to roll with it.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten previously has signalled agreement with the site, but he will face pressure from western Sydney MPs to put conditions with that support.
They could include pushing for a curfew and guarantees that traffic congestion will be properly addressed.
Labor MP Ed Husic was quick to tweet that Abbott promised from opposition in January 2013: “The coalition has absolutely no plans for a second airport at Badgerys Creek.”
Given the long lead-up time before any aircraft will take off, bipartisan support is crucial for the airport’s success.
Western Sydney Liberal MPs also will be making a beeline for Abbott’s office, seeking assurances about local jobs, roads and rail lines.
Just how the project is planned, funded and managed could cause some political heartache.
Abbott says the private sector will fund the lion’s share and operate it. As well, he has no problem with foreign investment if that’s what it takes.
But as yet there is no indication how much taxpayers will have to fork out, or how the money will be raised.
Public-private partnerships have not all gone smoothly in recent years, as Brisbane’s Airport Link and Clem7 and Sydney’s Lane Cove and Cross City tunnels attest.
But unlike roads, airports have a broader range of revenues on which to draw, from passenger landing charges to commercial rents and parking fees.
It used to be said that “if you build it, they will come”, but poor planning around the airport could lead to extra congestion and poor linkages to existing freight networks, which could make it a white elephant.
Abbott has laid the tarmac with the decision to back Badgerys Creek.
But getting to take-off will be the tricky part.