Airport logistics and air movement

Qantas plane flying over Sydney Harbour

Sydney Airport lies at the heart of the Australian air transportation industry, and is the nation's busiest airport.  

Located only eight kilometres from the central business district, Sydney Airport accounted for around 40% of Australia's scheduled international aircraft movements and 42% of Australia's international air passenger movements in 2012-13. 

In 2013, around 37.9 million regional, domestic and international passengers travelled through Sydney Airport, a record level and an increase of 2.6% from 2012. 

Sydney Airport is also Australia's international air freight hub. In 2012-13, more than 418,000 tonnes or 47% of Australia's international freight on scheduled international air transport services was loaded or discharged at Sydney Airport.  

Airline services and connectivity

Thirty-nine airlines serving 94 destinations operated through Sydney Airport as at December 2013. 

In 2013, two new airlines to Sydney, Air India and Sichuan Airlines, commenced direct services while a number of existing airlines added capacity through increased frequencies from Sydney Airport or up-gauging of existing services. 

The shift to new generation aircraft like the A380 and Boeing 787 has enhanced Sydney's connectivity by offering increased capacity as well as opening up new non-stop routes. 

In fact, Sydney Airport is one of the world's leading hubs for next generation aircraft, and became the fifth busiest A380 airport in the world in 2013, with over 120 services per week.  

Strategic direction to 2033 and beyond

In 2013, Sydney Airport began preparing a new Master Plan that outlines the strategic direction for the airport's development to 2033 and beyond. 

The Plan is designed to meet forecast demand of 74 million passengers in 2033, and seeks to enhance passenger services as well as making the airport more efficient for airlines and improving connectivity for international services.  

With innovative ground transport solutions developed in collaboration with the NSW Government, the plan will significantly improve access to the airport and road traffic flow around it, and will ensure Sydney Airport remains Australia's premier international gateway.

The Australian Government approved the Plan in February 2014.

International Air Freight and Passenger Movements - Australian Airports, 2012-131
Airport Freight (tonnes) % of Australia International passenger movements (millions) % of Australia International aircraft movements % of Australia
Sydney 418,731 47.4 12.6 41.6 67,820 39.9
Melbourne 244,553 27.7 7.0 23.1 35,920 21.1
Brisbane 102,774 11.6 4.5 14.9 27,026 15.9
Perth 83,564 9.5 3.7 12.3 20,765 12.2
Adelaide 21,345 2.4 0.7 2.3 4,490 2.6
Other2 12,134 1.4 1.7 5.7 13,855 8.2
Australia 883,101 100.0 30.3 100.0 169,876 100.0


1. Includes inbound and outbound scheduled international airport traffic and aircraft movements

2. Includes Cairns, Darwin, Gold Coast, Norfolk Island, Sunshine Coast and Townsville

Source: Australian Government Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics,International Airline Activity, 2012-13</footnote>