Sydney Airport’s plans to create two integrated terminal precincts each capable of handling both international and domestic services has taken a step forward with the buyback of Qantas’s lease over Terminal 3.
Although there will be no change to the existing arrangements – with international flights at the western side of airport at Terminal 1 and domestic services operating out of Terminals 2 and 3 on the eastern side – for at least the next five years, Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather says the $535 million transaction announced on Tuesday is one of the necessary steps towards eventually having domestic and international flights operating out of the same facility.
“The integration of terminals is a key plank actually in our long-term master plan and acquiring T3 was key in terms of being able to achieve that,” Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said on Tuesday.
“In the long term it will help us deliver the master plan which provides for the ability to have integrated operations across all of our terminals. We don’t have any plans in the next five years, which is the period we have actually given capex guidance for the market.”
The airport’s most recent master plan, which the federal government approved in 2014, proposed having two integrated terminal precincts capable of handling regional, domestic and international flights.
This would reduce the number of passengers that currently had to transfer between the domestic T2/T3 precinct and the international T1 precinct and provide a single terminal experience for 97 per cent of passengers, the 2033 master plan said.
“One of the key benefits of the development plan is the ability to service aircraft demand through the use of swing gates that can accommodate both international and domestic/regional aircraft in each of the two terminal precincts,” the Sydney Airport master plan said.
“This provides the airport the ability to easily respond to fluctuations in actual demand between its international, domestic and regional operations.”
Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said he was committed to the concept of co-location for the airline’s domestic and international flights.
Joyce said having integrated terminals capable of handing both overseas and local services would enhance the “whole desirability of Sydney Airport”.
“It is one of the elements that we continue to believe is very important for the airport,” he said.
“We will be working through how those details work. As Kerrie said it won’t be here in the next five years, but it will be something that’s there in the medium to long term.”