Sydney Airport

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Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport
Sydney Airport logo.svg
Sydney Airport (2004) By Air.jpg
Airport typePublic
OwnerLeased Commonwealth Airport
Operator Sydney Airport Corporation Limited
Serves Sydney
Location Mascot, New South Wales, Australia
Hub for
Elevation  AMSL 21 ft / 6 m
Coordinates 33°56′46″S151°10′38″E / 33.94611°S 151.17722°E / -33.94611; 151.17722 Coordinates: 33°56′46″S151°10′38″E / 33.94611°S 151.17722°E / -33.94611; 151.17722
Location map Australia Sydney.png
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Australia New South Wales relief location map.png
Airplane silhouette.svg
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Direction LengthSurface
07/252,5308,301 Asphalt
16L/34R2,4387,999 Asphalt
16R/34L3,96212,999 Asphalt
Passengers (Dec 2017 to Nov 2018)44,443,927 [1]
Aircraft movements (2013–2014)327,190 [2]
Airfreight in tonnes (2012)444,419 [3]
Economic & social impacts (2012)$13.2 billion & 146 thousand [4]
Source: AIP [5]
Passenger and aircraft movements from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics [3]

Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport [6] (colloquially Mascot Airport, Kingsford Smith Airport, or Sydney Airport; IATA : SYD, ICAO : YSSY; ASX :  SYD) is an international airport in Sydney, Australia located 8 km (5 mi) south of Sydney city centre, in the suburb of Mascot. The airport is owned by the ASX-listed Sydney Airport Group. It is the primary airport serving Sydney, and is a primary hub for Qantas, as well as a secondary hub for Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways. Situated next to Botany Bay, the airport has three runways, colloquially known as the east–west, north–south and third runways.

An IATA airport code, also known as an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier, is a three-letter code designating many airports and metropolitan areas around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used.

ICAO airport code four-letter code designating many airports around the world

The ICAOairport code or location indicator is a four-letter code designating aerodromes around the world. These codes, as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators, are used by air traffic control and airline operations such as flight planning.

Australian Securities Exchange Primary securities exchange located in Sydney, Australia

The Australian Securities Exchange is Australia's primary securities exchange. It is owned by the Australian Securities Exchange Ltd, or ASX Limited, an Australian public company. Prior to December 2006 it was known as the Australian Stock Exchange, which was formed on 1 April 1987, incorporated under legislation of the Australian Parliament as an amalgamation of the six state securities exchanges. It merged with the Sydney Futures Exchange in 2006.


Sydney Airport is one of the world's longest continuously operated commercial airports [7] and the busiest airport in Australia, handling 42.6 million passengers [8] and 348,904 aircraft movements [9] in 2016–17. It was the 38th busiest airport in the world in 2016. Currently 46 domestic and 43 international destinations are served to Sydney directly.

The airport's Air Traffic Control Tower is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List. [10]

Sydney Airport Air Traffic Control Tower historic commonwealth heritage site in Sydney Airport NSW

Sydney Airport Air Traffic Control Tower is a heritage-listed air traffic control tower at Lawrence Hargreaves Drive, Sydney Airport, New South Wales, Australia. It was added to the Australian Commonwealth Heritage List on 22 January 2016.

Commonwealth Heritage List

The Commonwealth Heritage List is a heritage register which lists places under the control of the Australian government, usually on land or in waters directly owned by the Crown. Such places must have importance in relation to the natural, indigenous and historic heritage of Australia. The List was established under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.


KLM Douglas DC-8 at Gate 2 of the International Terminal in 1972 DC8, Sydney, 1972.jpg
KLM Douglas DC-8 at Gate 2 of the International Terminal in 1972
Terminal 1 aerial view Sydney airport - International terminal.jpg
Terminal 1 aerial view
Sydney Airport Terminal 1 (international terminal) shops Sydney Airport Terminal 1 Restrict Area shops 2017.jpg
Sydney Airport Terminal 1 (international terminal) shops
Duty-free shops at T1 International T1SYDNEY.jpg
Duty-free shops at T1 International
Aerial view of Terminals 2 and 3 (2009) Annotated SYD dom terminal aerial.jpg
Aerial view of Terminals 2 and 3 (2009)
Control tower Sydney Airport's control tower.jpg
Control tower
Tail of a Qantas Boeing 747-400 at Sydney Airport with the skyline of Sydney in the background. QantasSYD.jpg
Tail of a Qantas Boeing 747-400 at Sydney Airport with the skyline of Sydney in the background.

1919–1930: Early history

The land used for the airport had been a bullock paddock. [11] Nigel Love, who had been a pilot in the First World War, was interested in establishing the nation's first aircraft manufacturing company. This idea would require him to establish a factory and an aerodrome close to the city. A real estate office in Sydney told him of some land owned by the Kensington Race Club that was being kept as a hedge against its losing its government-owned site at Randwick. It had been used by a local abattoir which was closing down, to graze sheep and cattle. [ citation needed ] This land appealed to Love as the surface was perfectly flat and was covered with a pasture of buffalo grass. The grass had been grazed so evenly by the sheep and cattle that it required little to make it serviceable for aircraft. [ citation needed ] In addition, the approaches on all four sides had no obstructions, it was bounded by a racecourse, gardens, a river and Botany Bay.

Wing Commander Nigel Borland Love was an Australian aviator and flour miller.

Randwick, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Randwick is a suburb in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Randwick is located 6 kilometres south-east of the Sydney central business district and is the administrative centre for the local government area of the City of Randwick. Randwick is part of the Eastern Suburbs region. The postcode is 2031.

Love established Mascot as a private concern, leasing 80 hectares (200 acres) from the Kensington Race Club for three years. It initially had a small canvas structure but was later equipped with an imported Richards hangar. The first flight from Mascot was on November 1919 when Love carried freelance movie photographer Billy Marshall up in an Avro. The official opening flight took place on 9 January 1920, also performed by Love. [12]

In 1921, the Commonwealth Government purchased 65 hectares (161 acres) in Mascot for the purpose of creating a public airfield. In 1923, when Love's three-year lease expired, the Mascot land was compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth Government from the racing club. [11] The first regular flights began in 1924.


In 1933 the first gravel runways were built. By 1949 the airport had three runways – the 1,085-metre (3,560 ft) 11/29, the 1,190-metre (3,904 ft) 16/34 and the 1,787-metre (5,863 ft) 04/22. The Sydenham to Botany railway line crossed the latter runway approximately 150 metres (490 ft) from the northern end and was protected by special safeworking facilities. [13] The Cooks River was diverted away from the area in 1947–52 to provide more land for the airport and other small streams were filled. When Mascot was declared an aerodrome in 1920 it was known as Sydney Airport. On 14 August 1936 the airport was renamed Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport [14] in honour of pioneering Australian aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith. Up to the early 1960s the majority of Sydney-siders referred to the airport as Mascot. The first paved runway was 07/25 and the next one constructed was 16/34 (now 16R/34L), extended into Botany Bay, starting in 1959, to accommodate jet aircraft.[ citation needed ] Runway 07/25 is used mainly by lighter aircraft, but is used by all aircraft including Airbus A380s when conditions require. Runway 16R is presently the longest operational runway in Australia, with a paved length of 4,400 m (14,300 ft) and 3,920 m (12,850 ft) between the zebra thresholds.

Modern history

By the 1960s, the need for a new international terminal had become apparent, and work commenced in late 1966. Much of the new terminal was designed by Paynter and Dixon Industries. [15] The plans for the design are held by the State Library of New South Wales. [16]

The new terminal was officially opened on 3 May 1970, by HM Queen Elizabeth II. The first Boeing 747 "Jumbo Jet" at the airport, Pan American's Clipper Flying Cloud (N734PA), arrived on 4 October 1970. The east-west runway was then 2,500 m (8,300 ft) long; [17] in the 1970s the north-south runway was expanded to become one of the longest runways in the southern hemisphere. The international terminal was expanded in 1992 [ citation needed ] and has undergone several refurbishments since then, including one that was completed in early 2000 in order to re-invent the airport in time for the 2000 Olympic Games held in Sydney. The airport additionally underwent another project development that began in 2010 to extend the transit zone which brought new duty free facilities, shops & leisure areas for passengers. [ citation needed ]

The limitations of having only two runways that crossed each other had become apparent and governments grappled with Sydney's airport capacity for decades; eventually the controversial decision to build a third runway was made. The third runway was parallel to the existing runway 16/34, entirely on reclaimed land from Botany Bay. A proposed new airport on the outskirts of Sydney was shelved in 2004, before being re-examined in 2009–2012 showing that Kingsford Smith airport will not be able to cope by 2030.


The "third runway", which the Commonwealth government commenced development of in 1989 and completed in 1994, remained controversial because of increased aircraft movements, especially over many inner suburbs. In 1995 the Common Cause - No Aircraft Noise party (also known as the No Aircraft Noise Party) was formed to contest the state seat of Marrickville. The results of the election that year show that the party did not win a seat in parliament, but came close. [18] The party does not appear to have entered candidates for any subsequent election.

In 1995, the Australian Parliament passed the Sydney Airport Curfew Act 1995, which limits the operating hours of the airport. This was done in an effort to curb complaints about aircraft noise. The curfew prevents aircraft from taking off or landing between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am. A limited number of scheduled and approved take-offs and landings are permitted respectively in the "shoulder periods" of 11 pm to midnight and 5 am to 6 am. The Act does not stop all aircraft movements overnight, but limits movements by restricting the types of aircraft that can operate, the runways they can use and the number of flights allowed. [19] During extreme weather, flights are often delayed and it is often the case that people on late flights are unable to travel on a given day. As of 2009, fines for violating curfew have been levied against four airlines, with a maximum fine of A$550,000 applicable. [20]

In addition to the curfew, Sydney Airport also has a cap of 80 aircraft movements per hour which cannot be exceeded, leading to increased delays during peak hours. [21]


In 2002, the Commonwealth Government sold Sydney Airports Corporation Limited (later renamed Sydney Airport Corporation Limited, SACL), the management authority for the airport, to Southern Cross Airports Corporation Holdings Ltd. 82.93 per cent of SACL is owned by MAp Airports International Limited, a subsidiary of Macquarie Bank, Sydney Airport Intervest GmbH own 12.11 per cent and Ontario Teachers' Australia Trust own 4.96 per cent. [22] SACL holds a 99-year lease on the airport which remains Crown land and as such is categorised as a Leased Federal Airport. [23]

Since the international terminal's original completion, it has undergone two large expansions. One such expansion is underway and will stretch over twenty years (2005–25). This will include an additional high-rise office block, the construction of a multi-level car park, the expansion of both international and domestic terminals. These expansions—and other plans and policies by Macquarie Bank for airport operations—are seen as controversial, as they are performed without the legal oversight of local councils, which usually act as the local planning authority for such developments. As of April 2006, some of the proposed development has been scaled back. [24]

Sydney Airport's International terminal underwent a $500 million renovation that was completed in mid-2010. The upgrade includes a new baggage system, an extra 7,300 m2 (78,577 sq ft) of space for shops and passenger waiting areas and other improvements. [25]

In March 2010, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released a report sharply critical of price gouging at Sydney airport, ranking it fifth out of five airports. The report noted Sydney Airport recorded the highest average prices at $13.63 per passenger, compared to the lowest of $7.96 at Melbourne Airport, while the price of short-term parking had almost doubled in the 2008–09 financial year, from $28 to $50 for four hours. The report also accused the airport of abusing its monopoly power. [26]


In December 2011, Sydney Airport announced a proposal to divide the airport into two airline-alliance-based precincts; integrating international, domestic and regional services under the one roof by 2019. The current domestic Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 would be used by Qantas, Jetstar and members of the oneworld airline alliance while today's international Terminal 1 would be used by Virgin Australia and its international partners. Other international airlines would continue to operate from T1. [27]

In September 2012, Sydney Airport and MD CEO Kerrie Mather announced the airport had abandoned the proposal to create alliance-based terminals in favour of terminals "based around specific airline requirements and (passenger) transfer flows". She stated the plan was to minimise the number of passengers transferring between terminals. [28] In June 2013 the airport released a draft version of its 2013 Masterplan, which proposes operating domestic and international flights from the same terminals using 'swing gates', along with upgrading Terminal 3 (currently the Qantas domestic terminal) to accommodate the Airbus A380. [29] [30]

On 17 February 2014, the Australian Government approved Sydney Airport's Master Plan 2033, [31] which outlines the airport's plans to cater for forecast demand of 74 million passengers in 2033. The plan includes Sydney Airport's first ever integrated ground transport plan. [32]


Sydney Airport has three passenger terminals. The International Terminal is separated from the other two by a runway; therefore, connecting passengers need to allow for longer transfer times.

Terminal 1

Terminal 1 was opened on 3 May 1970, replacing the old Overseas Passenger Terminal (which was located where Terminal 3 stands now) and has been greatly expanded since then. Today it is known as the International Terminal, located in the airport's north western sector. It has 25 gates (thirteen in concourse B numbered 8–37, and twelve in concourse C numbered 50–63) served by aerobridges. Pier B is used by Qantas, all Oneworld members and all Skyteam members (except Delta). Pier C is used by Virgin Australia and its partners (including Delta) as well as all Star Alliance members. There are also a number of remote bays which are heavily utilised during peak periods and for parking of idle aircraft during the day.

The terminal building is split into three levels, one each for arrivals, departures and airline offices. The departure level has 20 rows of check-in desks each with 10 single desks making a total of 200 check-in desks. The terminal hosts eight airline lounges: two for Qantas, and one each for Etihad Airways, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, American Express and SkyTeam. The terminal underwent a major $500 million redevelopment that was completed in 2010, by which the shopping complex was expanded, outbound customs operations were centralised and the floor space of the terminal increased to 254,000 square metres (2,730,000 sq ft). [33] Further renovations began in 2015 with a reconfiguration and decluttering of outbound and inbound duty-free areas, extension of the airside dining areas and installation of Australian Border Force outbound immigration SmartGates. These works were completed in 2016. [34]

Terminal 2

Terminal 2, located in the airport's north-eastern section, was the former home of Ansett Australia's domestic operations. It features 16 parking bays served by aerobridges and several remote bays for regional aircraft. It serves FlyPelican, Jetstar, Regional Express Airlines, Tigerair Australia, Virgin Australia and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. There are lounges for Regional Express Airlines and Virgin Australia.[ citation needed ]

Terminal 3

Terminal 3 is a domestic terminal, serving Qantas with QantasLink flights having moved their operations from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3 on 16 August 2013. [35] [36] Originally, it was home for Trans Australia Airlines (later named Australian Airlines). Like Terminal 2 it is located in the north-eastern section.

The current terminal building is largely the result of extensions designed by Hassell that were completed in 1999. This included construction of a 60-metre roof span above a new column-free checkin hall and resulted in extending the terminal footprint to 80,000 square metres. [37] There are 14 parking bays served by aerobridges, including two served by dual aerobridges. Terminal 3 features a large Qantas Club lounge, along with a dedicated Business Class and Chairmans lounge. Terminal 3 also has a 'Heritage Collection' located adjacent to gate 13, dedicated to Qantas and including many collections from the airline's 90-plus years of service. It also has a view of the airport's apron and is used commonly by plane-spotters.

Qantas sold its lease of Terminal 3, which was due to continue until 2019, back to Sydney Airport for $535 million. This means Sydney Airport resumes operational responsibility of the terminal, including the lucrative retail areas. [38]

Freight Terminals

The airport is a major hub for freight transport to and from Australia handling approx. 45 percent of the national cargo traffic. Therefore it is equipped with extensive freight facilities including seven dedicated cargo terminals operated by several handlers. [39]

Airlines and destinations


Air Canada Toronto–Pearson, Vancouver
Air China Beijing–Capital, Chengdu
Air India Delhi
Air New Zealand Auckland, Christchurch, Norfolk Island, Queenstown, Rarotonga, Wellington
Air Niugini Port Moresby
Air Vanuatu Port Vila
AirAsia X Kuala Lumpur–International
Aircalin Nouméa
All Nippon Airways Tokyo–Haneda
American Airlines Los Angeles
Asiana Airlines Seoul–Incheon
Beijing Capital Airlines Qingdao [40]
British Airways London–Heathrow, Singapore
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong
Cebu Pacific Manila
China Airlines Taipei–Taoyuan
China Eastern Airlines Beijing–Capital, Hangzhou, Kunming, Nanjing, Shanghai–Pudong, Wuhan, [41] Xi'an
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou, Shenzhen
Delta Air Lines Los Angeles
Emirates Christchurch, Dubai–International
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Fiji Airways Nadi, Suva [42]
FlyPelican Mudgee, [43] Taree [44]
Fly Corporate Brisbane, Inverell, [45] Narrabri [46]
Garuda Indonesia Denpasar, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta
Hainan Airlines Changsha (ends 13 September 2019), [47] Haikou [48]
Hawaiian Airlines Honolulu
Japan Airlines Tokyo–Narita
Jetstar Airways Adelaide, Auckland, Avalon, Ayers Rock, Ballina, Brisbane, Cairns, Christchurch, Darwin, Denpasar, Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Honolulu, Ho Chi Minh City, [49] Launceston, Melbourne, Nadi, Perth, Phuket, Proserpine, [50] Queenstown, Sunshine Coast, Townsville
Korean Air Seoul–Incheon
LATAM Chile Auckland, Santiago de Chile
Malaysia Airlines Kuala Lumpur–International
Malindo Air Denpasar, Kuala Lumpur–International (both begin 15 August 2019) [51]
Philippine Airlines Manila
Qantas Adelaide, Alice Springs, Auckland, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Beijing–Capital, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Christchurch, Dallas/Fort Worth, Darwin, Denpasar, Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Jakarta–Soekarno-Hatta, Johannesburg–OR Tambo, Los Angeles, a London–Heathrow, Manila, Melbourne, Nadi, [52] Nouméa, Osaka–Kansai, Perth, Queenstown, San Francisco, Santiago de Chile, Shanghai–Pudong, Singapore, Tokyo–Haneda, Wellington
Seasonal: Broome, Sapporo–Chitose (begins 16 December 2019), [53] Vancouver
QantasLink Adelaide, Albury, Armidale, Bendigo, [54] Brisbane, Canberra, Coffs Harbour, Dubbo, Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Hobart, Lord Howe Island, Melbourne, Moree, Port Macquarie, Sunshine Coast, Tamworth, Toowoomba Wellcamp, Wagga Wagga
Qatar Airways Doha
Regional Express Airlines Albury, Armidale, Ballina, Bathurst, Broken Hill, Cooma, [55] Dubbo, Grafton, Griffith, Lismore, Merimbula, Moruya, Narrandera, Newcastle, Orange, Parkes, Wagga Wagga
Samoa Airways Apia–Faleolo [56]
Scoot Singapore
Sichuan Airlines Chongqing, Ürümqi
Singapore Airlines Singapore
Thai Airways Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi
Tigerair Australia Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth, Proserpine
United Airlines Houston–Intercontinental, [57] Los Angeles, San Francisco
Vietnam Airlines Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
Virgin Australia Adelaide, Albury, Apia–Faleolo, [58] Auckland, Ayers Rock, Ballina, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Coffs Harbour, Darwin, Denpasar, Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Hervey Bay, Hobart, Hong Kong, [59] Launceston, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Nadi, Nuku'alofa, Perth, Port Macquarie, Queenstown, Sunshine Coast, Tamworth, Townsville, Wellington [60]
Seasonal: Christchurch [61]
XiamenAir Fuzhou, Xiamen

^a The Qantas flight QF11 from Sydney to New York operates with a stop in Los Angeles, where all passengers disembark and clear US customs while the flight continues to New York carrying all connecting passengers from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. Although the same flight number continues to New York there is an aircraft swap at Los Angeles from an A380 to 787. So an entry for a direct New York flight is not included (the 787 arrives from Brisbane). Furthermore, it is not possible to fly solely between LAX and JFK as the US government does not allow foreign airlines from serving domestic flights in the US.

A McDonnell Douglas MD-11F of FedEx Express taxiing to the cargo terminal at Sydney Airport; Terminal 3 is in the background FEDEX.jpg
A McDonnell Douglas MD-11F of FedEx Express taxiing to the cargo terminal at Sydney Airport; Terminal 3 is in the background
A Boeing 747-400F, operated by Atlas Air on behalf of Qantas Freight, on short finals for Sydney Airport ATLASAIR.jpg
A Boeing 747-400F, operated by Atlas Air on behalf of Qantas Freight, on short finals for Sydney Airport


Cathay Pacific Cargo Hong Kong, Melbourne
DHL Aviation Auckland, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Nouméa
Emirates SkyCargo Dubai–Al Maktoum, Hong Kong, Singapore
FedEx Express Auckland, Guangzhou, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Manila, Singapore [62]
MASkargo Da Nang, Kuala Lumpur–International
Polar Air Cargo Honolulu, Melbourne
Qantas Freight Auckland, Brisbane, Chicago–O'Hare, Chongqing, Christchurch, Hong Kong, Honolulu, Jakarta–Soekarno Hatta, Melbourne, Shanghai–Pudong
Singapore Airlines Cargo Adelaide, Auckland, Melbourne, Singapore
Toll Priority Brisbane, Melbourne
UPS Airlines Anchorage, Honolulu, Los Angeles
Virgin Australia Cargo Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Townsville

Second Sydney airport

The local, state and federal governments have investigated the viability of building a second major airport in Sydney since the 1940s. [63] Significant passenger growth at Sydney Airport indicates the potential need for a second airport — for example, total passenger numbers increased from less than 10 million in 1985–86 to over 25 million in 2000–01, and over 40 million in 2015–16. [8] This growth is expected to continue, with Sydney region passenger demand forecast to reach 87 million passengers by 2035. [64]

On 15 April 2014, the Federal Government announced that Badgerys Creek would be Sydney's second international airport, to be known as Western Sydney Airport. [65] Press releases suggest that the airport will not be subject to curfews and will open in phases, initially with a single airport runway and terminal. [66] It would be linked to Sydney Airport by local roads and motorways, and by extensions to the existing suburban rail network. [67] In May 2017 the Federal Government announced it would build (pay for) the second Sydney Airport, after the Sydney Airport Group declined the Government's offer to build the second airport. [68]

Traffic statistics

Terminal 1 departures concourse SydAirportT1.jpg
Terminal 1 departures concourse
Terminal 3 check-in area SydairportT3.JPG
Terminal 3 check-in area


Sydney Airport handled over 27 million domestic passengers in 2017. [8]

Domestic aviation activity into and out of Sydney Airport for financial year ending 30 June 2018 [69]
RankAirportPassengers handled% Change
1 Flag of Victoria (Australia).svg Melbourne 9,250,822Increase2.svg3.1
2 Flag of Queensland.svg Brisbane 4,788,059Increase2.svg2.0
3 Flag of Queensland.svg Gold Coast 2,751,593Increase2.svg1.4
4 Flag of South Australia.svg Adelaide 1,908,584Increase2.svg1.2
5 Flag of Western Australia.svg Perth 1,719,947Decrease2.svg1.0
6 Flag of Queensland.svg Cairns 1,135,079Increase2.svg0.9
7 Flag of the Australian Capital Territory.svg Canberra 951,976Decrease2.svg0.3
8 Flag of Tasmania.svg Hobart 686,243Increase2.svg8.2
9 Flag of Queensland.svg Sunshine Coast 612,458Increase2.svg9.7
10 Flag of New South Wales.svg Ballina 424,912Increase2.svg7.9
11 Flag of New South Wales.svg Coffs Harbour 346,515Increase2.svg1.3
12 Flag of the Northern Territory.svg Darwin 318,073Decrease2.svg0.6
13 Flag of Tasmania.svg Launceston 283,397Decrease2.svg2.5
14 Flag of New South Wales.svg Albury 221,836Decrease2.svg1.2
15 Flag of Queensland.svg Hamilton Island 199,958Decrease2.svg14.4


Sydney Airport handled 15.6 million international passengers in 2016–17. [8]

Busiest international routes – Sydney Airport (2018) [70]
RankAirportPassengers handled% change
1 Flag of New Zealand.svg Auckland 1,556,816Decrease2.svg1.5
2 Flag of Singapore.svg Singapore 1,520,882Increase2.svg2.4
3 Flag of Hong Kong.svg Hong Kong 1,149,236Increase2.svg6.8
4 Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles 859,610Decrease2.svg3.1
5 Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg Dubai 819,223Increase2.svg3.9
6 Flag of Malaysia.svg Kuala Lumpur 660,946Decrease2.svg11.1
7 Flag of Thailand.svg Bangkok 620,876Increase2.svg0.3
8 Flag of Indonesia.svg Denpasar 587,157Increase2.svg6.8
9 Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg Abu Dhabi 534,089Increase2.svg8.2
10 Flag of New Zealand.svg Christchurch 495,485Increase2.svg1.4
11 Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo 487,149Increase2.svg0.6
12 Flag of Fiji.svg Nadi 485,291Increase2.svg1.5
13 Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Shanghai 474,013Increase2.svg4.6
14 Flag of the United States.svg Honolulu 458,922Increase2.svg1.1
15 Flag of Qatar.svg Doha 451,373Increase2.svg42.1

Tokyo includes services to both Haneda and Narita airports.


In 2016–17 Sydney Airport handled 489,183 tonnes of international air freight and 23,349 tonnes of international air mail. [8]

Ground transport

Domestic Airport railway station Sydney Domestic Airport Station4.jpg
Domestic Airport railway station
P7 Carpark outside Terminal 1 Carpark Sydney Airport.jpg
P7 Carpark outside Terminal 1

The airport is accessible via the Airport Link underground rail line. The International Airport railway station is located below the International terminal, while the Domestic Airport railway station is located under the car park between the domestic terminals (Terminal 2 and Terminal 3). While the stations are part of the Sydney Trains suburban network, they are privately owned and operated by the Airport Link consortium and their use is subject to a surcharge. [71] [72] The trains that service the airport are regular suburban trains. Unlike airport trains at some other airports, these do not have special provisions for customers with luggage, do not operate express to the airport and may have all seats occupied by commuters before the trains arrive at the airport.

State Transit operates route 400 from the airport to Bondi Junction railway station stopping at both the International and Domestic terminals and Mascot railway station. This route connects to the eastern suburbs [73] while Transit Systems Sydney operates route 420 from Westfield Eastgardens to Burwood via both International and Domestic terminals, as well as Banksia and Rockdale railway stations. [74]

Sydney Airport has road connections in all directions. Southern Cross Drive (M1), a motorway, is the fastest link with the city centre. The M5 South Western Motorway (including the M5 East Freeway) links the airport with the south-western suburbs of Sydney. A ring road runs around the airport consisting of Airport Drive, Qantas Drive, General Holmes Drive, M5 East Freeway and Marsh Street. General Holmes Drive features a tunnel under the main north-south runway and three taxiways as well as providing access to an aircraft viewing area. Inside the airport a part-ring road – Ross Smith Avenue (named after Ross MacPherson Smith) – connects the Domestic Terminal with the control tower, the general aviation area, car-rental company storage yards, long-term car park, heliport, various retail operations and a hotel. A perimeter road runs inside the secured area for authorised vehicles only.

The Airport runs several official car parks—Domestic Short Term, Domestic Remote Long Term, and International Short/Long Term. [75]

The International Terminal is located beside a wide pedestrian and bicycle path. It links Mascot and Sydney City in the north-east with Tempe (via a foot bridge over Alexandra Canal) and Botany Bay to the south-west. All terminals offer bicycle racks and are also easily accessible by foot from nearby areas.

Accidents and incidents

See also

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Cairns Airport is an international airport in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Formerly operated by the Cairns Port Authority, the airport was sold by the Queensland Government in December 2008 to a private consortium. It is the seventh busiest airport in Australia. The airport is located 2.3 nautical miles north northwest of Cairns or 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of the Cairns central business district, in the suburb of Aeroglen. The airport lies between Mount Whitfield to the west and Trinity Bay to the east.

Perth Airport domestic and international airport in Perth, Western Australia

Perth Airport is a domestic and international airport serving Perth, the capital and largest city of Western Australia. It is the fourth busiest airport in Australia measured by passenger movements and falls within the boundaries of the City of Belmont, City of Kalamunda and the City of Swan. Perth Airport and Jandakot Airport, the other civilian airport within the Perth metropolitan area, recorded a combined total of 362,782 aircraft movements in 2017.

Brisbane Airport international airport in Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane Airport is the primary international airport serving Brisbane and South East Queensland. The airport services 31 airlines flying to 50 domestic and 29 international destinations, in total amounting in more than 22.7 million passengers who travelled through the airport in 2016. In 2016, an OAG report named Brisbane airport as the fifth-best performing large-sized airport in the world for on-time performance with 86.71% of arrivals and departures occurring within 15 minutes of their scheduled times, slipping from 88.31% the year before.

Jetstar Airways Pty Ltd, trading as Jetstar, is an Australian low-cost airline headquartered in Melbourne. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Qantas, created in response to the threat posed by low-cost airline Virgin Blue. Jetstar is part of Qantas' two brand strategy of having Qantas Airways for the premium full-service market and Jetstar for the low-cost market. Jetstar carries 8.5% of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia.

Gold Coast Airport airport

Gold Coast Airport is an international Australian airport located at the southern end of the Gold Coast and approximately 90 km (56 mi) south of center of Brisbane, within South East Queensland agglomeration. The entrance to the airport is situated in the suburb of Bilinga near Coolangatta. The runway itself straddles the state border of Queensland and New South Wales. During summer these states are in two different time zones. The Gold Coast Airport operates on Queensland Time all year round.

Avalon Airport airport serving Geelong and Melbourne in Victoria, Australia

Avalon Airport is an international airport located in Avalon in the City of Greater Geelong in Victoria, Australia. While located outside the Melbourne metropolitan area, it is the second busiest of the four airports serving the state capital in passenger traffic. It is located 15 kilometres (9 mi) north-east of the Geelong CBD and 50 kilometres (31 mi) south-west of the Melbourne CBD. The airport is operated by Avalon Airport Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of logistics company Linfox.

Hobart International Airport airport serving Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart Airport is an airport located in Cambridge, 17 km (11 mi) northeast of Hobart. It is the major passenger airport in Tasmania.

Launceston Airport airport serving Launceston, Tasmania

Launceston Airport is a regional airport on the outskirts of Launceston, Tasmania. The airport is located in the rural area of Western Junction 15 km (9.3 mi) from Launceston city centre. It is Tasmania's fastest growing airport, and the second busiest in the state, after Hobart International Airport; it can also run as a curfew free airport. In the 2007/2008 financial year, the airport had a record 1.1 million passengers, up 10% on the previous year; 255,000 passengers passed through the airport in the three months to 30 September, up 7% on the previous year. 309,000 passengers passed through in January – March 2008, the highest ever number in a calendar quarter, up 11% on the previous year. It is currently Australia's 13th busiest airport, handling 1,126,572 passengers in the 2008–09 financial and 1,124,000 passengers in the 2009–10 financial year. The total number of passenger movements through Launceston Airport is projected to increase annually by 2.7 per cent during the forecast period to 2,000,000 in 2030–31. The expected growth rate reflects slower forecast longer term economic growth in Australia, the maturation of the impact of low-cost carriers on passenger movement growth and an expected increase in domestic airfares.

Impulse Airlines was an independent airline in Australia which operated regional and low cost trunk services between 1992 and 2004. It was acquired by Qantas in 2001 and later formed the basis of Qantas' low-cost airline Jetstar. The airline had its head offices on the grounds of Sydney Airport in Mascot.

Darwin International Airport international airport serving Darwin, Australia

Darwin International Airport is the busiest airport serving the Northern Territory and the tenth busiest airport in Australia. It is the only airport serving Darwin.

Hamilton Airport (New Zealand) international airport in Hamilton, New Zealand

Hamilton Airport is an airport located 14 kilometres south of the city of Hamilton in the Waikato region, in New Zealand. It is sited at Rukuhia, which was the name of the Royal New Zealand Air Force base on that site during World War II.

QantasLink is a regional brand of Australian airline Qantas and is an affiliate member of the Oneworld airline alliance. It is a major competitor to Regional Express Airlines and Virgin Australia Regional Airlines. As of September 2010 QantasLink provides 1,900 flights each week to 54 domestic locations.

Townsville Airport airport in Australia

Townsville Airport is a major Australian regional airport that services the city of Townsville, Queensland. The airport is also known as Townsville International Airport, and Garbutt Airport, a reference to its location in the Townsville suburb of Garbutt. Townsville Airport is serviced by major Australian domestic and regional airlines, and in 2011/12 handled 1.7 million passengers making it the 11th busiest airport in Australia.

Sunshine Coast Airport airport

Sunshine Coast Airport is an Australian airport located at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast and approximately 90 km (56 mi) north of centre of Brisbane, within South East Queensland agglomeration.

Newcastle Airport (New South Wales) airport serving Newcastle, Australia

Newcastle Airport is 15 kilometres; 9.2 miles (8 NM) north of Newcastle, New South Wales in Port Stephens. It is the 13th busiest airport in Australia, handling over 1.25 million passengers in the year ended 30 June 2017, an increase of 6.6% on the previous year. The airport occupies a 28 ha (69-acre) site on the southern border of RAAF Base Williamtown.

Queenstown Airport international airport in Queenstown, New Zealand

Queenstown Airport is located in Frankton, Otago, New Zealand, and serves the resort town of Queenstown. The airport is 8 km (5.0 mi) from the Queenstown CBD. The airport handled 2.25 million passengers as of 2018 making it the fourth busiest airport in New Zealand by passenger traffic. The airport consists of two runways, one of which is paved, and has a single-level terminal building with nine gates.

Qantas is Australia's largest airline and one of the oldest airlines in the world. Qantas has gone from two fragile biplanes carrying two passengers and a pilot, to an Airbus A380 flying 450 people around the world. Qantas was founded in Winton, Queensland on 16 November 1920 as Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services Limited by Paul McGinness, and Hudson Fysh. Fergus McMaster joined them as Chairman, as did Arthur Baird to take care of aircraft maintenance. McGinness left QANTAS for other interests in 1922, and Hudson Fysh remained with the company as General Manager & Managing Director. He retired as Sir Hudson Fysh KBE DFC, Chairman of QANTAS in 1966.


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