South-East Sector Upgrades
South-East Sector Upgrades

In 2021, passenger numbers at SYD hit their lowest point of the COVID pandemic, at just 1% of 2019 levels. As at June 2023, passenger numbers were back to nearly 90% of 2019 levels. Growth is expected to continue as more people choose to fly.

The South-East Sector project will prepare the airport for increased demand and passenger growth, delivering 1.5km of new taxiway and all-new services including the new fuel main for future connections.

The upgrades also include 2 renewed and 4 brand new aircraft parking bays, that will be constructed in SYD’s south-east sector near the Air Traffic Control Tower and Blu Emu Carpark.

The project, which was originally approved by the Australian Government in 2019, is a $169 million investment to meet forecast aviation demand in 2029. It is due to be completed in 2025.

Impact on operations

Due to the proximity of the worksite to the main north-south runway, the use of that runway will be unavoidably affected between 11pm and 6am to ensure the safety of workers and aircraft.

This means:

  1. The limited number of overnight freight flights allowed to operate during the curfew and Air Ambulance aircraft will instead land and take-off from the parallel north-south runway (also known as the third runway). They will take off to and land from the south over Botany Bay.

  2. Temporarily using this runway means people living in Kurnell, La Perouse, Phillip Bay, Little Bay and Botany may hear aircraft noise between 11pm and 6am. This will occur until 31 March 2024.

  3. Essential maintenance work will also be undertaken during this period. This includes airfield ground lighting upgrade projects, rubber removal and asphalt surface maintenance and repair (including line marking). This work can only be undertaken during the curfew.

We expect that, from 1 April 2024, the number of nights when the parallel north-south runway will need to be used between 11pm and 6am will drop to around 12 every three month period for the foreseeable future.

Change of flight paths

More information on the expected change for each of Sydney Airport’s 16 flight paths can be downloaded here.

This compares the average daily number of flights for each flight path before the project started in August 2019 and compares that with the expected number of flights in July 2024 both with and without the project.

Frequently asked questions

A list of frequently asked questions on the South-East Sector project can be viewed or downloaded here.