As airlines gradually increase capacity, Sydney’s chief is calling on airlines to step up and help rebuild the travel industry.

Sydney airport is the busiest in Australia
Photo: Eigenblau | Shutterstock

Australia’s largest airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith (SYD), has urged its carriers to schedule more capacity to nurture the rebound of the tourism, education, and export industries post-pandemic.

Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport welcomed over 3 million travelers in December, the first time it reached that number since the wake of the pandemic. Airport traffic remains 20% lower than in 2019, so the airport is encouraging airlines to unlock more capacity and get back to normal.

Sydney Airport runways at Botany Bay

Photo: Xavier MARCHANT | Shutterstock

A long road ahead

Sydney Airport Chief Executive Geoff Culbert commented on the excitement of reaching the 3 million mark again. However, he acknowledges the significant investment needed to rebuild the travel industry. Further commenting:

“Our domestic terminals were bustling over the Christmas period as Australians travelled to see friends and family and explore this great country. The recovery is by no means over though, with 411,000 fewer domestic passengers in December 2022 than in December 2019.”

Of the 3 million through the door, over 1.1 million were international travelers, which is 30% lower than in 2019. International carriers are gradually ramping up services; Air New Zealand has maintained its extensive operation Trans-Tasman, All Nippon plans to increase to double daily Sydney Tokyo from March, and the major Chinese carriers have committed to increasing their operations from February.

Sunshine in Samoa, and Qantas’ taking off for New York

As fears of the pandemic subside, airlines are gradually reintroducing services, such as Virgin Australia heading for Samoa and Vanuatu and Qantas taking another punt on New York. The carrier historically operated with a stopover in Los Angeles, but this time will route via Auckland International Airport direct to JFK.

Qantas Sydney International Lounge

Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) has long been the principal gateway airport into Australia and looks set for a healthy 2023, particularly now that the major Chinese airlines are ramping up flights.

On its LinkedIn site, Sydney Airport has announced the following:

  • China Southern Airlines will increase its Sydney-Guangzhou flights to daily from February 3rd, increasing to ten services per week from March 26th.
  • After a three-year hiatus, Air China will resume Sydney services on February 3rd with three flights per week.
  • Xiamen Airlines operates four times a week between Sydney and Xiamen and will resume twice weekly lights to Fuzhou on February 5th.
  • China Eastern Airlines operates three flights weekly between Sydney and Shanghai and will go to daily services from February 2nd.

REX Boeing 737-800 Sydney

Regional Express is cashing in on the golden triangle

Rex Airlines has catapulted itself into a major domestic carrier. Through the darkest depths of the pandemic, the airline introduced its jet operations (with ex-Virgin Australia aircraft). The carrier is now fighting for its place within the golden triangle, operating flights between Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, in addition to its extensive inter-state operations and purchase of Cobham Aviation.Rex will also reap the rewards with its latest interline agreement with US carrier Delta Air Lines. The deal went live in October 2022, giving Rex passengers easy access to Delta’s ten times weekly Sydney (SYD) to Los Angeles (LAX) flights using Airbus A350 aircraft.Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, Linkedin

  • Qantas-Emirates-A380-Sydney-Stunt-Getty

    Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

    IATA/ICAO Code:


    Geoff Culbert

    Passenger Count :
    44,446,838 (2019)

    Runways :
    07/25 – 2,530m (8,300ft) |16L/34R – 2,438m (8,000ft) |16R/34L – 3,962m (13,000ft)

    Terminal 1 |Terminal 2 |Terminal 3



    IATA/ICAO Code:

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Brisbane Airport, Melbourne Airport, Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport

    Year Founded:


    Alan Joyce



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