Operational efficiency and continuous improvement

Operational resilience and efficiency is vital to the airport precinct maintaining a high level of response capability and ensuring continuity of operations and business for our staff, airport and airline partners, stakeholders and travelling public. To read about our performance in this area see our Sustainability Report.

Our airfield has been progressively expanded and modified in response to traffic growth and changes to fleet mix and aircraft size. The airfield consists of parallel runways in a north-south direction, an east-west runway, taxiways and aircraft parking aprons and supporting infrastructure.

The main north-south runway is 3,962 metres long, the parallel runway is 2,438 metres long and the east-west runway is 2,530 metres long. The two north-south runways are equipped with High Intensity Approach Lighting (HIAL) systems and all runways are equipped with Instrument Landing Systems (ILS).

The runways are supported by a taxiway system designed to facilitate the efficient movement of aircraft between the runways and terminals areas. Rapid Exit Taxiways (RETs) are provided on the parallel runways to minimise occupancy time.

Sydney Airport accommodates operations by the full range of aircraft codes. The main north-south and east-west runways and the supporting taxiways can accommodate operations by aircraft up to and including the A380.The General Manager, Operations has organisational responsibility for operational efficiency and continuous improvement.

Sydney Airport’s Integrated Operations Centre oversees the operation of the airport.

Sydney Airport’s Master Plan sets out the development priorities for the airport covering a 20 year period in a way that allows flexibility to adapt to changing conditions in the economy and aviation industry more broadly. It is updated every five years and includes opportunities for operational efficiency. For more information on the Master Plan, see the Sustainable Development of the airport section.

Our investment plans are designed to deliver continuous improvement across the airport. We work with airline partners to identify, agree and prioritise opportunities to improve their experience at Sydney Airport, and the experience of their passengers.

Airport Operating Licence

In 2021, SYD’s Airport Operating Licence (AOL) came into effect. The AOL sets minimum enforceable standards to improve safety, security, environment and operational performance outcomes and behaviour in our airport community. It is designed to improve safety performance on the airfield, including aviation safety.

The AOL agreement was developed over a three-year period with the assistance of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and extensive stakeholder consultation.

It is the first of its kind in Australia, enabling SYD to hold licensees accountable to agreed standards. It aligns with international best practice, establishing a direct relationship between the airport and ground services providers as recommended under the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Manual on Ground Handling.

Consultation is embedded within the AOL framework and will be ongoing with both individual licensees and the AOL community. This consultation will be important in shaping future decisions on infrastructure and operational changes.