Sydney Airport plans to combine domestic, international terminals

By David Flynn, June 5 2013
Sydney Airport plans to combine domestic, international terminals

A dramatic overhaul of Sydney Airport would see domestic and international flights operate from the same terminals, putting an end to troublesome transfers, while a new ring road around the airport precinct would ease traffic congestion.

The proposals, released in a draft of the airport’s 20 year masterplan, are cornerstone measures in handling the estimated 74.3 million passengers expected to be using the airport by 2033.

That figure is double the 37 million travellers who flew through Sydney Airport last year, and of course is made without any allowance for the presence of a contentious second airport for Sydney.

Nor does Sydney Airport’s masterplan, which will be on public exhibition until August 30th, make allowances for an extension of the current curfew.

The report claims that only 63 per cent of the airport’s landing and take-off slots are being used, while newer, quieter aircraft such as the Airbus A380, Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 would result in a smaller noise footprint than today. 

Integrated terminals

In September 2012 Sydney Airport scrapped an earlier proposal to create two alliance-based mega-terminals combining domestic and international operations, with Mather explaining that “our concept has moved on from being an alliance concept to one based around specific airline requirements and (passenger) transfer flows”.

The new masterplan reflects that focus, with ‘swing gates’ – already used in many overseas airports – channeling passengers between their aircraft and separate domestic and international areas.

The gates would be installed at both the current T1 international terminal and the T2 and T3 domestic terminals, while T3 would be upgraded to handle the Airbus A380.

This would allow Qantas A380s, along with those of Emirates and potentially other oneworld airlines, to operate from the same terminal as incoming and outgoing domestic Qantas and regional QantasLink flights, eliminating the need for time-consuming transfers to a different terminal. 

No new runway, but a new ring road...

A one-way ring road would circle the terminals to smooth traffic flow, beginning from Sir Reginald Ansett Drive and spinning out via Qantas Drive.

There would also be a new city-bound exit for the T1 international terminal by 2018.

Read it for yourself

Click here to download the complete Preliminary Draft Master Plan 2033 or individual sections.

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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.


12 Apr 2013

Total posts 1513

Indeed plans for 20+ years making me incredibly exciting .....

09 Nov 2011

Total posts 88

Another band aid approach. The curfew doesn't change nor does the resistence from the surrounding neighbourhood regarding any further development. 20 years will be needed to get through the red tape. How many of these outlandish plans are we going to see before something is actually implemented. Last time I looked, there was an idea of building terminals over in Kurnell with the current 3rd runway converted to a transport between the 2 areas?? Melbourne airport has unlimited space to expand. All that is needed is a rail link to the CBD and we could have a suitable Australian primary gateway - but that is also looking down the barrell of a 20 year plan. The last time I was unfortunate to use Sydney airport, I had to do the lovely Qantas bus between domestic and International. On the way, there was a very congested line up of Delta, Air Canada, Garuda, United, Qantas, Thai, Malaysia waiting from the northern end of the main runway to take off between landings - not to mention the multiple domestic departures lined up on the other side. It was exciting to be so close to the big birds though!!

09 Sep 2012

Total posts 139

A primary gateway at the bottom of the continent?

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1027

MEL is closer to most of Asia, Africa and Europe then SYD is.

26 May 2012

Total posts 149

Hands up if you love the transfer bus as much as I do!


30 May 2011

Total posts 37

wow, A380s for CX and MH... Like!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jan 2013

Total posts 698

Integrated domestic/international terminal for SYD well overdue - I, for one, will not miss the airside transfer bus. It caters poorly for those with a disability and adds time to transit. MEL airport is far and away a better design, so its good news SYD will finally catch up.


10 Sep 2011

Total posts 162

How about ceasing further investment into Sydney Airport as it currently stands, and turn all of Botany Bay into a floating airport like what is being proposed for London.  Assuming it is indeed floating, global warming will not be a challenge!

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