Is Sydney Airport planning a new international pier?

A new pier at Sydney Airport's T1 could also house new lounges for Qantas or Emirates.

By David Flynn, September 30 2019
Is Sydney Airport planning a new international pier?

Sydney Airport is reportedly eyeing an expansion of its T1 international terminal which would add more gates as well as opening up new lounge space.

Emirates’ interest in a new international pier at Sydney Airport extends to relocating its lounge, a senior Emirates executive has told Executive Traveller, provided the Gulf airline’s flight can be assigned to the new gates.

“What we said is, if you're moving to a new pier, we would like to get the space there,” Emirates’ Manager Product Development (Airport Services) Don Surendra told Executive Traveller.

Surendra says that a prerequisite for any new Emirates lounge “is the availability of space… at least 900-1000 square metres. That's the first prerequisite.”

“The second prerequisite is, is it close by to our gates? Is it easily accessible once you go through immigration and customs, because sometimes that journey is quite long."

More broadly speaking, Surendra added that “lots of airports are not investing money with new piers, etcetera. So when it does happen, we really like to get first in the door.”

A new home for the Qantas business lounge?

Executive Traveller understands that Sydney Airport has also been in discussion with Qantas about the airline relocating its Sydney international business class lounge to the new pier – hence the reason that Qantas has not embarked on the promised make-over of its flagship business lounge.

Qantas revealed its plans for a new-look lounge in February 2018 with the promise of "an interior design inspired by Sydney’s unique lifestyle and geography" which would add "at least 30 per cent more seating" to alleviate peak-hour crowding, alongside "luxury bathroom facilities", a full-service bar and "a signature Neil Perry dining experience.” 

At the time, the airline advised that "construction is scheduled to start in the third quarter of this calendar year and will be completed in stages to allow ongoing lounge access, targeting completion at the end of 2019.

Qantas Head of Product Strategy and Development Philip Capps told Executive Traveller earlier this year that the airline was "in ongoing discussions with Sydney Airport about the lounge redevelopment.”

Sydney Airport has declined to comment on this story.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

20 Oct 2015

Total posts 41

Now the penny drops. This would be why Qantas hit the pause button on its Business Lounge but has not been willing to talk about it. But surely the opening of a new pier would be years away? Would be good if Qantas could refresh the current lounge in the meantime, it really needs a bit of TLC!

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 84

I've heard from somebody who works at SYD that the new pier would be at the northern end of T1 down towards the cargo area, not far from the Qantas domestic transfer shuttle bus zone. If Emirates wants to use this pier then it will need to have A380-capable gates. Be great to have direct boarding from the Emirates lounge!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Nov 2011

Total posts 130

The plan to extend T1 into the current cargo area and more cargo facilities to the South East is detailed in the 2039 Mater Plan. There's some interesting things in there (if you are an airport geek like me!)



Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

14 Sep 2012

Total posts 293

This is not really a secret you can view Sydney Airport Master Plan to 2039 which describes all this

20 Jul 2011

Total posts 18

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 84

SYD must be planning to bring this forward then because there is no way that Emirates and Qantas would be talking about taking lounge space in a pier that is 20 years away. Also isn't it odd that SYD would not comment to ET on this, if the pier is the one in the 2039 master plan? Why not just come out and say "Yes, this is in our 2039 master plan"?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2011

Total posts 38

Looking at the Terminal 1 development plan, it just looks like continuing to create an even bigger mess than is already there.

Why is everything we build in Australia not properly planned to cope with future expansion? Airports, shopping centres et al are just chaotic messes with long walks, and every new extension just tacked on and the cracks painted over.

Sydney is supposed to be our gateway, but the airport leaves a lot to be desired. I guess it is too late now to bomb the site and start over.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

10 Feb 2017

Total posts 5

Or they could build Western Sydney to a capacity and standard - dual runways and high speed connections to the CBD from opening - that will allow SYD to be shut down and redeveloped to pay for it all.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

01 Apr 2011

Total posts 38

As someone once said, tell him he's dreaming.

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