Facts and figures

Sydney Airport is Australia’s busiest airport. In 2016 the airport was used by 42 million passengers – an average of more than 114,000 passengers each day.

Our airport is located about 8km south of Sydney’s CBD and has convenient transport to the city by both road and rail. Efficient airports are vitally important to Australia’s national prosperity, facilitating international trade and community. 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

This is Australia’s gateway terminal, handling 14.9 million passengers a year.

T2 Domestic

This terminal is used by domestic and regional airlines including Jetstar, Virgin Australia, Regional Express and Tigerair.

T3 Domestic

This terminal is operated by Qantas and used for Qantas domestic and Qantaslink regional flights.

Freight

We have 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. Sydney Airport handles in excess of 517,000 tonnes of air freight per year (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.

History

We are 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.

Infrastructure

Our 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).

Sydney Airport aerial view

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.

Three 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.