Sydney Airport hopes to spoil premium passengers with a dedicated wing where well-heeled travellers can stride straight from the kerb through immigration and to the lounge, and potentially board their flight directly from the lounge itself.
It’s one of many prospects outlined in the airport’s 2039 Master Plan, released this week for public consultation before being submitted to the Federal Government in 2019.
Also on the cards are extensions to all three terminals, installing ‘swing gates’ at domestic for international flights and two remote ‘satellite’ piers at the airport’s south-east and south-west corners, plus new airport hotels.
There’s also a slew of ground transport improvements promised, including widening roads – such as up to four lanes in each direction for the roadway between the domestic and international terminals – plus expanded pick-up and drop-off areas, all to address ongoing issues with traffic congestion.
And of course, the 20-years-ahead blueprint embraces the latest technology such as biometrics and advanced security screening plus improved systems for baggage handling and advising travellers in real-time of the fastest immigration lanes to avoid choke-points.
Here’s a look into the future – at least to 2039, and as Sydney Airport Corporation is concerned – according to the airport’s Preliminary Draft Master Plan 2039.
International Terminal 1
A newly-built wing at the northern edge of the current T1 building would provide a drive-up and drop-off area for ‘premium passengers’ nominated by airlines – likely to be first class flyers and perhaps members of super-elite programs such as the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge.
Sydney Airport’s 2039 Master Plan describes this as “a common-use premium processing area,’ adding that “airline product differentiation within T1 will be offered through the provision of dedicated departures processing facilities, which may be accessed directly from ground transport facilities.”
This would operate similar to Singapore Airlines’ First Class Check-in Reception at Changi Terminal 3, which has everything from a hotel-style porter service to a private Immigration channel.
Extensions are planned for both arms of T1, with the primary Pier A (below and to the left of the Qantas lounges) stretching as far as the perimeter of Airport Drive and boasting not only new departure gates but new lounges with “the ability for direct aircraft boarding” along the same lines as Emirates’ Airbus A380 terminal in Dubai.
The southern end of T1 would also be enlarged, with a remote South West Satellite Pier for international flights connected to T1 by busses.
Domestic Terminal 2, Terminal 3
As previously reported, Sydney Airport aims to bring a limited number of international flights to the domestic T2 and T3 terminals used primarily by Qantas and Virgin Australia.
Extensions to both terminals will see ‘swing gates’ capable of handling passengers on either international or domestic flights.
Sydney Airport flags that the redevelopment could accommodate up to 17 swing gates, which which would not only reduce transit time and hassle but could prove very useful for trans-Tasman flights.
There’s also provision for a domestic Satellite Pier at the south-each corner of the airfield, close to General Holmes Drive.
Domestic arrivals passengers bound for T1, or connecting from T1 back to T2 or T3, could look forward to zipping between terminals via a dedicated ‘airside transfer corridor for autonomous vehicles’ – self-driving shuttles which could be as modest as the compact pods used for London Heathrow Airport’s T5 parking station (shown below) or might prove to be far more advanced.
“The proposed airside transfer product will have the added benefit of reducing congestion on the landside road network,” the Master Plan notes.