Aviation attraction fund to turbocharge recovery of NSW tourism

20 October 2021

Sydney Airport has today announced it will dollar-match the NSW Government’s $60 million aviation attraction initiative, creating a $120 million war-chest aimed at turbo-charging the return of international airlines to the state.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said: “Sydney is the jewel in Australia’s tourism crown and the NSW Government’s tourism package ensures that we can compete with other global destinations as they rebuild their post-COVID economies.

“International aviation is the lifeblood of the tourism sector and the NSW Government’s aviation attraction fund will make sure Sydney is being talked about in airline boardrooms from Doha to Dallas. We welcomed nearly 17 million international passengers in 2019 and this year we will welcome less than 3% of that, levels not seen since the 1960s. 18 international airlines have completely stopped flying to Sydney. Today’s announcement will put us back on the map as Australia’s gateway and accelerate our return to pre-pandemic levels of passenger traffic.

“We are incredibly appreciative to the Perrottet Government for recognising that a vibrant international aviation sector is what makes Sydney a truly global city, and that tourism will be crucial to shaking off the economic hangover from COVID. We are especially grateful for the efforts and engagement of Minister Ayers and Destination NSW as champions for NSW tourism, and look forward to working closely with them to implement the aviation attraction fund now that the international borders to NSW are opening on 1 November.”

Australia’s international freight and passenger demand consolidated into Sydney during the pandemic, with Sydney Airport’s share of Australia’s airfreight growing from 47% in 2019 to more than 60% in 2021. More than 50% of the 500,000 people who have returned to Australia during the pandemic repatriated via Sydney Airport.

Mr Culbert said: “Sydney and NSW led the way during the pandemic and it’s fitting that the state and Airport that did the heavy lifting will now lead the recovery of our international aviation sector.”