South-East Sector Upgrades
South-East Sector Upgrades

In 2021, passenger numbers at SYD hit their lowest point of the COVID pandemic, at just 1% of 2019 levels. As at June 2023, passenger numbers were back to nearly 90% of 2019 levels. Growth is expected to continue as more people choose to fly.

The South-East Sector project will prepare the airport for increased demand and passenger growth, delivering 1.5km of new taxiway and all-new services including the new fuel main for future connections.

The upgrades also include 2 renewed and 4 brand new aircraft parking bays, that will be constructed in SYD’s south-east sector near the Air Traffic Control Tower and Blu Emu Carpark.

The project, which was originally approved by the Australian Government in 2019, is a $169 million investment to meet forecast aviation demand in 2029. It will take around two years to complete.

Impact on operations

Due to the proximity of the worksite to the east-west and main north-south runways, the use of those runways will be unavoidably affected to ensure the safety of workers.

This means:

  1. Opportunities for aircraft noise sharing on weekdays will be affected. Noise sharing opportunities on weekends won’t change

  2. From October 2023, the east-west runway will be temporarily closed for no more than 10-weeks

  3. For safety reasons, the limited number of overnight domestic freight aircraft that are permitted to use the main north-south runway between 11pm and 6am will instead use the parallel north-south (or third) runway. Initially, this will be for no more than 70 nights until 31 December 2023.

As a result, the number of aircraft using the east-west runway will temporarily decrease and the number using the two north-south runways will temporarily increase.

Change of flight paths

More information on the expected change for each of Sydney Airport’s 16 flight paths can be downloaded here.

This compares the average daily number of flights for each flight path before the project started in August 2019 and compares that with the expected number of flights in July 2024 both with and without the project.

Frequently asked questions

A list of frequently asked questions on the South-East Sector project can be viewed or downloaded here.