Sydney Airport CEO: Australia Needs To ‘Unlock’ More Capacity

SYD continues to trail 2019 traffic levels despite a ‘bustling’ holiday period.

Credit: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

Sydney Airport (SYD) reported full-year 2022 traffic totaling 44.4 million passengers, down 34.5% compared to 2019, prompting the airport’s CEO to push for airlines to add more international capacity to/from Australia.

SYD's December 2022 passenger traffic reached 3.09 million, down 21.7% from 2019. SYD CEO Geoff Culbert noted in a statement that December marked the first month since February 2020 the airport reported traffic of more than 3 million passengers.

He said terminals were “bustling” over the Christmas holiday period, but added there is still a long way to go towards the airport’s recovery. “There is significantly more work to do to rebuild overseas travel, with international passenger traffic still well behind pre-pandemic levels and lower flight numbers,” Culbert said. “Australia needs to unlock more capacity, and quickly, if we want to see a sustained recovery for our tourism, education and export industries.”

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Culbert added that he expects to see “the number of flights to and from China rapidly increasing following that crucial border reopening,” and noted that Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) will boost its Tokyo-SYD service to 2X-daily in March. ANA currently operates 1X-daily service between Tokyo Haneda (HND) and Sydney.

SYD’s full-year 2022 international passenger traffic was 51.3% lower compared to 2019, while domestic traffic was down 24.1% versus 2019. Monthly international traffic continued to lag domestic traffic in December, with the former down 27.9% compared to December 2019 and the latter down 17.5%.