Sydney Airport is committed to delivering the highest levels of safety and security of everyone who comes in to contact with our operations or any of the activities under our control. To read about our performance in this area, see our Sustainability Report.


The Safety, Security and Sustainability (SSS) Committee assists the Board in fulfilling its safety responsibilities. The SSS Committee Charter sets out its objectives and functions.

The Safety Steering Committee is an executive level group chaired by the CEO that monitors all aspects of safety across our operations.

The General Manager, Safety, Sustainability and Environment, is responsible for organisational safety and the General Manager, Operations is responsible for aviation safety.

Executives and people leaders have a lead and lag safety KPI designed to drive safety culture and best practice throughout our organisation.

Our Safety Policy Statement sets out this commitment and our objectives in line with the legislative requirements of the Civil Aviation Act 1988 and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) & Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW).


Our 2019-2021 safety strategy has three pillars: build safety culture and community, enhance safety risk management and streamline safety systems.

Under these pillars we are striving to increase engagement and capability, improve health and wellbeing and simplify our safety management system. We are also working across our airport community to improve collaboration on safety, ensure we have safe work environments and enhance analysis and reporting. Central to our safety strategy is building safety culture and creating safety communities.

We adopt a continuous improvement approach and measure safety performance against key objectives. The 2019-2021 Safety Strategy is supported by safety improvement plans for each department.

These contain continuous improvement initiatives that are implemented across the business. These plans are monitored by the Safety Steering Committee on a quarterly basis.

To achieve our objectives, our Safety Management System provides us with a risk management framework aligned to the AS/NZS 4801 standard and local and international civil aviation safety guidance, where we systematically identify, assess and manage foreseeable aviation-specific safety issues and work health and safety risks.

We conduct an annual internal safety review across the organisation to test implementation of our safety systems with a cross-section of roles, functions and seniority in the business.

Sydney Airport’s safety team assist business units to manage organisational safety risks, effectively implement the SMS and continuously improve safety. We require incidents and near misses to be reported via our Safety Management System. Workers are required to tell their manager or supervisor immediately of any incident or injury. Our incident reporting and investigation procedure sets out the process through which incidents and near misses are to be reported and investigated. Our investigations seek to uncover the cause of the incident or near miss and take action to prevent them happening again.

Our safety and compliance training programs cover areas including first aid, airfield operations, baggage and facilities management.

Critical incident support is a key part of management of mental health risks, particularly to our operations teams who may be first responders to critical incidents. Our Critical Incident Support Procedures are enacted in the event of critical incidents on the airport and can involve proactive psychological and medical support for affected staff and stakeholders at the time of the event and ongoing, as required.

A high potential incident review team reviews incidents and hazards of the Assets and Infrastructure portfolio on a monthly basis. A root cause investigation is conducted into all high potential or actual construction safety and environmental incidents and corrective actions are put in place to improve safety performance.

Aviation Safety Committee meetings are conducted every quarter and inform the Safety Steering Committee on Aviation Safety matters.

Contractors engaged by Sydney Airport must complete an online safety induction prior to commencing work on the airport. Our service providers also complete a monthly safety performance report that outlines their lead and lag indicators and any improvement initiatives and meet regularly with their Sydney Airport representative.

Airport stakeholders and the general public can call our Integrated Operations Centre to report any safety issues and/or request assistance. This line is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Information/resources are directed as required, and matters requiring additional action are referred to the Sydney Airport Duty Manager.

We have established procedures to alert workers of the risks associated with adverse weather and take the appropriate action to minimise the risk of harm to themselves and others. Procedures include our Thunderstorm Warning System airside, which notifies airport stakeholders of approaching weather and the possible need to take cover. A text system also notifies airport stakeholders when the Thunderstorm Warning System is activated advising stakeholders to enact their own procedures.

Wildlife and aviation safety

Wildlife in and around the airfield can pose a safety risk and can cause damage to the aircraft. For both passenger and wildlife safety, we do everything we can to divert wildlife from making the airfield their permanent home.

We actively manage those animals whose natural habitat is the airport precinct. We work closely with the Australian Museum to identify bird species through their DNA, to help us gain a better understanding of various species.

Our Wildlife Management Plan has been in place since 2003 and is a requirement of the Federal Government. The plan sets out how we monitor wildlife at the airport, assess risks and hazards posed by animals and sets expectations for data collection to understand animal patterns and behaviour.

The airfield team constantly roams the aerodrome to ensure birds are not jeopardising the safety of aircraft operations and use a range of strategies to disperse birds through noise, which includes pyrotechnics, shotguns, air rifles and sirens.

Our Foreign Object Debris (FOD) Management Strategy guides our management of FOD on the airfield. We produce a monthly report using statistical analysis and spatial mapping to identify the key types and locations of FOD on the airfield.

Health and wellbeing

Sydney Airport understands that mental health relates to an individual’s enjoyment of life, ability to cope with stress, the fulfilment of goals and potential and a sense of connection to others. Each of our people will experience matters that can influence mental health and can nudge them back and forth along the continuum.

Sydney Airport provides access to an external, independent and confidential counselling service for employees and contractors and members of their immediate family. In addition to financial, legal, manager support and general counselling services, a number of our policies and support programs are designed to support health and wellbeing:

  • LifeWorks Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provides staff and their families with access to online services and support for issues related to health and wellbeing, life, family and relationships.
  • Our Wellbeing Policy and subsidy provide the option to redeem the cost for health and fitness e.g. gym membership, yoga, swimming centres up to a defined value
  • Our Appropriate Workplace Behaviour Policy and Code of Conduct set zero tolerance for bullying and harassment
  • Our Critical Incident Support Policy provides proactive support for exposed staff
  • Our Return to Work approach focuses on early intervention
  • We provide mental health and conflict resolution training for high-risk workers
  • We engage our employees through people surveys and through events such as R U OK? Day