New vision for Sydney Airport
Sydney Airport has today launched a proposed reconfiguration which would see the current separate domestic and international terminals altered to create two "alliance-based" precincts, each of which would accommodate "the entire operations of one of our major domestic airlines and its international partners".
Airport ceo Kerrie Mather said the move has the potential to transform aviation in NSW by improving the airport's attractiveness as a global hub and making connections between international and domestic services much easier.
"Under the proposal, the passenger experience is improved through faster connect times and more efficient airline and airport operations," she said, with the new configuration minimising operating disruptions which would have positive flow-on effects to the rest of Australia's aviation network.
The plan would see the current domestic terminals T2 and T3 accommodating the Qantas Group, including Jetstar and international partners.
The current international precinct, T1, would accommodate Virgin Australia and its international partners - along with other international airlines as at present.
The proposal would also guarantee ongoing access by regional airlines and other domestic carriers to Sydney Airport, with the precinct for carriers such as Tiger, Regional Express, AeroPelican and Brindabella "the subject of consultation".
The concept also includes the construction of a new Qantas Engineering complex for line maintenance, and a new Virgin Australia hangar which would serve as a dedicated maintenance base in Sydney.
Mather said that from the airport operations perspective the proposed configuration would also reduce aircraft turnaround times, largely eliminate towed main runway crossings and produce a better environmental outcome through reduced aircraft emissions.
Qantas and Virgin Australia have both backed the plan, with QF ceo Alan Joyce saying the proposal would have "significant benefits for all passengers travelling with both Qantas and Jetstar".
And Virgin Australia ceo John Borghetti said the concept has potential, adding "we support any proposal that improves services to the travelling public and grows tourism in Australia".
Both carriers have signed non-binding Memoranda of Understanding with the airport to progress the proposal, along with agreements to extend the current international aeronautical pricing arrangements to mid-2015.
Mather said the plan envisaged that the airport reconfiguration would see the respective alliances operating international, domestic and regional services under the one roof by 2019.
More information in today's Travel Daily.