Qantas is in discussions with Sydney Airport on plans to run domestic and international flights from a single terminal, streamlining connections and removing what airline CEO Alan Joyce described as Sydney’s “biggest pain point” for passengers.
The terminal would be dedicated to international flights by Qantas and its partners – including Oneworld members and Emirates – with presumably the current T1 international terminal remaining for all other airlines.
“There is a future that we have in mind and we’re talking to Sydney Airport (about it),” Joyce remarked during a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce on Monday in Sydney.
“We would like the domestic and international terminals to come together, because that is our biggest pain point… connecting domestically would be a lot easier than it is now,” he added, describing the current process of hopping on and off shuttle buses between T1 and T3 as being “painful”.
Combining domestic and international operations into a single purpose-built terminal was the answer, Joyce said.
“They would have to expand where we are on the domestic side – there’s a whole series of hangers and land there, they could expand into that, and create a Qantas international terminal for Qantas and its partners.”
Joyce flagged the airline would itself embark on a substantial investment into the new terminal, including lounges.
This is not the first time Sydney Airport has considered creating ‘mega-terminals’ combining domestic and international flights.
In 2011, the airport’s 2033 Master Plan proposed that both T1 and T2/T3 become “integrated terminals for international, domestic and regional airlines” with “swing gates which can be used for either international or domestic/regional operations at different times of the day.”
The current T2 and T3 domestic terminals would be extended and combined into a single hub for Qantas and Jetstar, plus all Oneworld airlines and Emirates.
All other international airlines would continue to fly from T1, which would also become the home for Virgin Australia’s domestic services along with international Star Alliance and SkyTeam members.
Sydney Airport later scrapped those plans, saying "after consulting with stakeholders and the community our concept has moved on from being an alliance concept to one based around specific airline requirements and (passenger) transfer flows.”
Instead, the airport’s latest 2039 Master Plan sees T1 as remaining an international-only terminal, while the T2/T3 precinct would be overhauled to “integrate international, domestic and regional operations.”
The footprint and infrastructure of both T1 and T2/T3 would be expanded, with T1 gaining a new south-west ‘satellite pier’ likely to be used by low-cost airlines, while T2 and T3 would each be extended with a flexible ‘international/domestic/regional pier’.