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Sydney Airport master plan for terminals approved by federal government

Sydney Airport’s latest master plan, which calls for combining domestic and international operations at shared terminals, has been approved by the federal government.

But federal Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Warren Truss says his approval does not negate the need for a second airport in Sydney.

“While the plan sets out plans to use the airport’s limited growth potential to full effect, it does not change the underlying constraints on the site and it is clear the Sydney region will need another major airport to cope with soaring demand,” he said. 

Sydney Airport on Tuesday said it welcomed approval of the 20-year master plan, which would meet the forecast demand of 74 million passengers in 2033, up from 38 million in 2013.

“The initiatives we outline in the Master Plan 2033 will meet the needs of our customers by delivering a superior passenger experience, improving the efficiency of the airport, enhancing safety and maximising capacity at Sydney Airport,” chief executive Kerrie Mather said.


The master plan for the next 20 years is based on no changes to the curfew, aircraft movement cap, noise sharing, access arrangements or flight paths.

However, it contains improved ground transport solutions developed in collaboration with the NSW government.

But it will allow the airport to combine domestic and international operations to help maximise capacity if it can reach agreement with the airlines.

To date, Virgin has opposed the prospect of moving its domestic and international operations to the current international terminal, which is located further away from the CBD.

Sydney Airport might also need to reach an agreement with Qantas on buying back the lease on Terminal 3 if it would like to combine domestic and international operations in the current domestic precinct before the lease expires in 2019.

In a draft version of its master plan, Sydney Airport said it had enough capacity for the airport to remain as the only major airport in Sydney through the period up to 2033 under discussion.

However, the government is expected to select Badgerys Creek as the site of a second Sydney airport later this year.

Sydney Airport will have the first right of refusal over the development.

Sydney Airport said it would finalise details of the master plan with the federal government before publishing the plan on the airport’s website within 50 business days as outlined by legislation.