With three runways, more than 300,000 aircraft movements a year and a wide range of aircraft, Sydney Airport is a great location for plane spotting. Our proximity to the city means that photographers can capture great shots of aircraft with the city, Port Botany or Botany Bay in the background.
Plane spotting locations
Sydney Airport officially opened the upgraded Shep’s Mound plane spotters’ lookout in August 2017, honouring the memory of aviation enthusiast Bruce C. Shepherd. The mound features two raised platforms overlooking the airfield, expansive grassed areas, undercover shelter and dedicated car parking.
There are a range of great vantage points for aviation enthusiasts around our airport:
- Shep’s Mound
- Lady Robinson’s Beach
- Barton Golf Course
- Runway 16R landing
Maps to these locations can be found here.
Security and restricted areas
We want to keep you, and our other visitors, safe and secure while you're at the airport. Security at the airport is governed by the Aviation Transport Security Act 2004 and Aviation Transport Security Regulations 2005. Please obey any road or security signage while in the airport precinct and comply with the directions of Sydney Airport security staff or the Australian Federal Police.
Any vehicle, step ladder, camera equipment or any other object that may facilitate a breach of airport security must be at least three metres from the perimeter fence at all times.
We operate Airport Watch in partnership with the Australian Federal Police. If you see any suspicious behaviour, persons, vehicles or items, report them to 131 AFP (237).
Sydney Airport has three runways:
- 16R/34L – Main north south runway (3,962m)
- 16L/34R – Parallel north south runway (2,438m)
- 07/25 – East west runway (2,530m)
All of our runways are 45m wide, however only the main and east-west runways can accept the largest aircraft at Sydney, the A380. Our third runway can accept all other aircraft types that frequent Sydney.
On our main runway, there is a six-metre difference in elevation between its highest and lowest points.
Both of our north south runways have High Intensity Approach Lighting, and are 1037m apart.
At nearly 4km long, Taxiway Alpha is the longest taxiway at the airport. It's the primary taxiway on the western side of the main runway, servicing the international terminal and full-length departures off Runway 34L. For noise abatement purposes, all jet aircraft must use the full length of Runway 34L for departure.
Taxiways Bravo and Charlie are the two main north/south taxiways on the domestic side of the airport and also provide access to the third runway precinct.
Taxiway Tango is the primary taxiway serving the third runway.
Taxiway Golf runs the full length of Runway 07/25 and is the primary taxiway servicing that runway.
Each aircraft is allocated a unique registration code similar to a licence plate for a motor vehicle. All Australian aircraft (Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia, Jetstar Airways and Regional Express) have the registration VH, followed by three letters. Some airlines add an identification mark to their aircraft to identify them within the fleet. These can be represented in numeric or alphabetical form.
- IATA/FAA: SYD
- ICAO: YSSY
- Latitude/Longitude: -33.946111 / 151.177222
- Elevation: 21 feet
- Distance from city: 8km
- Time zone: Standard time GMT + 10; daylight saving GMT + 11
- Postcode: 2020
Did you know?
The taxi from Qantas Bay 1 to the Taxiway Tango-6 holding point is 5.1km, which may be the longest domestic taxi route in Australia.
All taxiway entry points with runways at Sydney Airport have red stop bar lights as an additional safety measure to help prevent runway incursions by aircraft and vehicles.
An upgraded High Intensity Approach Lighting System was installed in 2013 on Runway 16R/34L and Sydney Airport received certification for Cat II landings in fog and adverse weather conditions from the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority in 2014.