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Reopening of the east-west runway

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The COVID-19 pandemic delivered a crisis of unprecedented magnitude to the global aviation industry.

Sydney Airport has been on the frontline, making 2020 the most challenging year in the airport’s history.

The number of domestic and international flights fell sharply throughout 2020, the latter by as much as 98 percent when compared to 2019.

With so few aircraft in the air, Sydney Airport also closed its east-west runway in March 2020 so airlines could securely park their grounded aircraft. For the last year, there have been no aircraft landing on or taking off from that runway.

We are now starting to see aviation recover.

Recovery in aviation is good news for the local and NSW economy because, prior to the pandemic, Sydney Airport generated or facilitated $42 billion in economic activity, equivalent to 6.7 percent of the NSW economy. The airport also generated or facilitated 336,400 full-time jobs across the nation, around 33,000 of which were on the airport itself and predominantly benefitted people who live close to the airport.

With the number of flights to and from Sydney gradually increasing, the east-west runway is set to reopen to facilitiate the increasing number of flights.

This means people living in areas to the east and west of the airport may notice aircraft flying overhead again. There will be no change to the airport curfew.

While we can’t yet say how soon the number of flights will return to pre-pandemic levels, we know there is strong pent-up demand for domestic air travel, which we’ve seen each time state borders open.

International travel will likely follow a similar path, with travellers keen to re-establish connections with family, friends and business partners.

East-West runway closure - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the runway reopening can be found here.

For further information, contact Sydney Airport’s Special Adviser Government and Community Relations, Mr Ted Plummer, by email ted.plummer@syd.com.au, or phone (02) 9667 6182.