Sydney Airport is Australia’s busiest airport. In 2014 the airport was used by
38.5 million passengers – an average of more than 100,000 passengers each day.
It is located about 8 kilometres south of Sydney’s CBD
and convenient transport to the city is available by
both road and rail. By facilitating international trade
and communications, efficient airports are vitally
important to Australia’s national prosperity. They are
an essential part of the transport networks that all
successful modern economies rely on.
There are three passenger terminals at Sydney Airport:
T1: International Terminal Sydney International Airport is Australia’s gateway terminal, handling more than 12 million passengers a year.
T2: Domestic Common User Terminal
This terminal is used by domestic and regional airlines
including Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Regional Express,
Tiger Airways, Aeropelican and
T3: Domestic Terminal
This terminal is operated by Qantas and used for
Qantas domestic and Qantaslink regional flights.
There are seven cargo terminals controlled by five
cargo terminal operators. Approximately 80 per cent of
freight is carried in the holds of passenger aircraft with
the remainder transported in dedicated freight aircraft.
In 2014, Sydney Airport handled around 517,000 tonnes of air freight (of which over 408,000 tonnes was international air freight), more than half of Australia’s total. Exports include fresh, chilled or frozen
perishables such as meat, seafood and fruit as well as
manufactured items. Imports are typically high value
manufactured items such as computers and car parts.
Sydney Airport is one of the oldest continually
operating airports in the world. In 1919, the Australian
Aircraft and Engineering Company leased land from
the Kensington Racing Club and established an
aerodrome at Mascot.
A canvas hangar was built and the first aircraft was
assembled. The first flight took place in November 1919 when Nigel Love took off and circled the aerodrome.
By the mid-1920s, regular air services between Sydney,
Melbourne and Adelaide were underway and the
Australian Government had taken control of the airport.
In the 1940s, a passenger terminal was opened and the
Cooks River was diverted to allow for the construction
of two new runways.
In 1963, work commenced on the construction of the
extension of the north-south runway southwards into
Botany Bay and in 1965 work commenced on the
construction of the International Terminal.
In 1989, the parallel (or third) runway was approved and
was completed in 1994.
The Australian Government privatised Sydney Airport in 2002.
Sydney Airport’s airfield has been progressively
expanded and modified in response to traffic growth
and changes to fleet mix and aircraft size. The airfield
consists of parallel runways in a north-south direction,
an east-west runway, taxiways and aircraft parking
aprons and supporting infrastructure.
The main north-south runway is 3,962 metres long, the
parallel runway is 2,438 metres long and the east-west
runway is 2,530 metres long. The two north-south
runways are equipped with High Intensity Approach
Lighting (HIAL) systems and all runways are equipped
with Instrument Landing Systems (ILS).
The runways are supported by a taxiway system
designed to facilitate the efficient movement of aircraft
between the runways and terminals areas. Rapid Exit
Taxiways (RETs) are provided on the parallel runways
to minimise occupancy time.
Aprons are areas provided to facilitate aircraft parking
positions known as stands. There are currently
41 stands for international and freight operations and
57 stands for domestic and regional operations.
Sydney Airport accommodates operations by the full
range of aircraft codes with Code C (A320, B737),
Code D (B767), Code E (A330, A340, B777 and B747)
comprising the majority of operations. Code F services
are operated from T1 by A380 aircraft.
The main north-south and east-west runways and
their supporting taxiways have been upgraded to
accommodate operations by aircraft up to and
including the A380.