Sydney Airport will close its outdoor observation deck at the international terminal next month – and if you listen closely you can hear the howls of plane-spotters rising above the roar of jet engines.
A spokesperson for Sydney Airport confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the outdoor deck will not longer be open to the public "for operational reasons."
"This area is currently under review and Sydney Airport is exploring a range of potential uses for the area."
The airport suggests that "members of the public can view the airfield from the Rydges Hotel at T1" along with other a handful of other locations listed at the airport's aviation community web page, including Qantas Drive, the '16L Mound' and '25 Threshold'.
(And if you have no idea where those last two are, or even what they mean, you're probably not a plane-spotter to begin with.)
"Sydney Airport understands that the deck is popular with the aviation community," the spokesperson said.
"The decision to close the observation deck was not taken lightly and we are currently reviewing other options that would enable a unique experience overlooking the runway."
As you'd expect, plane-spotters are saddened to lose one of their favourite perches.
"I've spent many days at the observation deck, enjoying the view over part of the apron and the main runway" reflects planes-potter and aviation photographer Nick Young.
"I've met people from around the world: plane-spotters, photographers and also those just interested in seeing their friends or relatives embark on their journeys."
Daniel Kirby works in the aviation industry but has been keeping a very close eye on aircraft as a hobby since 2001.
"The observation deck is just one of those places I love going to" Kirby told Australian Business Traveller.
"I live in Melbourne but get up to Sydney at least five times a year to do some spotting and photography, and the deck is one of my favourite spots to visit in the afternoon."
But the deck isn't just a hangout for aviation geeks.
"This is the only public place that parents can take their kids to show them the planes up close" reflects Sarah Collins.
"I can recall countless times when kids or tourists would come up to the deck and would just be astounded by the view - a last impression of Sydney that will be gone forever."
Collins told Australian Business Traveller that Sydney Airport should be embracing plane-spotters rather than cutting them out of the picture.
"The funny thing is that Sydney is now alienating spotters, in contrast to the likes of Perth and Brisbane who have created new specialised spotting areas without any direct revenue benefit to them."
"Sydney Airport needs to realise that there is a lot of value in people who are not actually flying. Keeping places like this open allows visitors to stay longer, and hence spend more money at outlets and parking for example."
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