SYD 100 fun facts

Below you'll find some fun facts about Sydney Airport!

  • Sydney Airport was founded by Nigel Love, who, on 19 November 1919 took off from the grassy paddocks in Mascot he had leased. He carried one passenger, a photographer named Billy Marshall who wanted to get some aerial photos of Sydney.
  • In 2019, 100 years later, more than 44 million passengers will travel through Sydney Airport. That’s the equivalent of filling the Sydney Cricket Ground three times over every day of the year!
  • Some amazing things have been found on the site of Sydney Airport, none more so than a dugong skeleton in Shea’s Creek (now Alexandra Canal). Radiocarbon dating found these bones to be around 6000 years old, with marks on the skeleton demonstrating an Aboriginal connection.
  • Today’s Domestic terminal precinct sits on the Lauriston Park estate, built for workers at nearby factories from 1902. The horseshoe-shaped road remains from the original Lauriston Park road layout and there were still residents living in the estate up until 1990.
  • A railway line once crossed one of the runways at Sydney Airport.
  • Keith ‘Bill’ Bradfield, son of John Bradfield who designed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and City Circle railway line, designed the runway configuration (the current main runway and east-west runway) in 1945.
  • The Cooks River previously flowed across what is today the airfield, but was diverted to allow for construction of the Bradfield plan.
  • The first jet plane at Sydney Airport took off in July 1959 – a Qantas Boeing 707. The first Boeing 747 flew to Sydney in October 1970, and the famous supersonic Concorde visited Sydney several times between 1972 and 1999.
  • When The Beatles touched down at Sydney Airport in 1964, there were scenes of hysteria from the crowd of more than 1000 screaming fans, and 150 police were on hand to try and keep control. Although cold and raining heavily, the band was paraded on an open-top truck.
  • Sydney Airport’s main runway is one of the longest commercial runways in the world at just under 4km. It was extended to this length in the late 1970s so it could double as a designated emergency landing site for the NASA Space Shuttle until 1986.
  • The International terminal, now known as T1, was officially opened in 1970 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Before then, all terminals were in today’s Domestic precinct.
  • The third runway (16L-34R) opened in 1994.
  • Sydney Airport’s biggest single makeover took place ahead of the 2000 Olympics and cost $2 billion.
  • The world’s first commercial A380 flight (Singapore Airlines) landed at Sydney Airport in October 2007.