Sydney Airport’s vision is to deliver a world-class airport experience and foster the growth of aviation for the benefit of Sydney, NSW and Australia. This aspiration continued to drive our strategy in 2016, informing our work each and every day.

With our operations at the heart of Australia’s largest airport catchment and the strongest state economy in the country Sydney Airport is driving growth for the benefit of Sydney, NSW and Australia.

More than 200 active construction projects were underway across our airport in 2016, highlighting the significant investment in our future as we deliver an enhanced airport experience for our passengers, staff and visitors. Significant capital works were delivered to transform our airport and support its sustainable growth. This work, which will continue in 2017 and beyond, is supporting our strategy to deliver operational efficiencies and an enhanced passenger experience.

Partnering for growth

A favourable macroeconomic environment supported the growth of our industry during the year, providing good opportunities to build on Sydney Airport’s unique offering as Australia’s gateway. We’ve partnered with a range of stakeholders to leverage market opportunities and support sustainable growth.

Leveraging macroeconomic factors

We’ve worked closely with airlines to attract new services to Sydney Airport. Importantly, our growth has been achieved across diverse markets, offsetting the potential impact of changing economic conditions that may affect specific tourism markets over time.

Attractive markets and changing industry conditions have provided good opportunities to work with airlines to support our growth. As airlines and business models change, airports can play a leading role in meeting changing industry needs.

Our close collaboration with our airlines and responsive approach to our business is allowing Sydney Airport to leverage favourable macroeconomic conditions to support sustainable growth.

Our ongoing investment in our airport has delivered greater capacity for larger aircraft, supporting overall passenger growth. Today, passengers arriving and departing on A380s make up 17% of our international passengers. We’ve also seen increased seat capacity on Airbus A330s, with some of these aircraft now configured to provide greater seat capacity than some A380s. As airlines continue to introduce larger aircraft to replace their current fleet, our investment in gates, aprons and support infrastructure is ensuring we’re well positioned to drive continued passenger growth for the benefit of the aviation and tourism industries.

Confirming our role as Australia’s gateway

With 40% of Australia’s international passengers passing through Sydney Airport, we remain Australia’s gateway airport. We’ve partnered with the tourism industry, government and business to support the continued growth of tourism and trade throughout the year. Our partnerships with tourism organisations on bids for major events, along with our support of key festivals and cultural events, has seen us work closely with Sydney and NSW organisations to ensure visitors have a positive experience of our city from the time they arrive at the airport. We’ve also worked with the Commonwealth and State governments, as well as industry, to facilitate further growth in trade by delivering additional services or opening up new routes.

Attractive markets and changing industry conditions supporting strong passenger performance

Investing in our future

T1 improvements

Sydney Airport is currently undertaking our largest capital works program since the Sydney Olympics. The year saw a significant step change in our operations as we expanded airfield and terminal capacity, enhancing the customer experience and improving efficiency. This has led to improved outcomes across all aspects of the airport’s operations, maximising the value of Sydney Airport’s investment.

Our terminal improvements continued at T1, with extensive works undertaken to expand check-in efficiencies and improve passenger amenities.

The opening of the Marketplace casual dining precinct was the culmination of a significant development project. Raising the roof to 17m at T1’s airside retail precinct has enhanced the space with natural light, providing an open and welcoming space for international travellers — with expansive airfield views. Importantly, this complex construction project was completed without impacting airfield activities.

T1’s check-in counter A saw six new check-in counters installed, while additional baggage handling facilities were introduced at Pier B East. This work was complemented by redeveloped gate lounges and streamlined boarding processes to improve the overall passenger experience.

Further apron development works were also implemented, as part of our ongoing investment in aviation enhancements to support our airline business partners. This included runway and taxiway works to accommodate next generation aircraft such as the B777-3 and B787-7. This has improved available space during peak periods to support operational efficiencies.

New bussing lounges were also developed, in addition to the expansion of existing facilities, parking positions and overflow facilities. These works are providing more flexible options for our airline partners, particularly during peak times. The new bussing lounges also provide greater comfort for passengers.

These key terminal improvements complemented additional works to improve our terminals and road network. Collectively, they are improving our operational capacity, and delivering efficiencies for Sydney Airport, and our airport stakeholders.

Supporting long-term aviation and tourism growth

While the significant program of works currently underway will deliver real benefits for our passengers and customers, we recognise the importance of ongoing investment in Australia’s gateway airport. During the year, we launched a detailed review of our short-term and medium-term expansion plans to ensure we continue to invest in capacity, products and efficiencies over time. In 2016, we identified a number of major projects to support our continued growth over the next 15 years.

During the next five years, Sydney Airport will consider expansion plans to increase gate, apron and support infrastructure capacity. Projects under consideration include the addition of three new gates and new baggage facilities at T1 Pier A, apron enhancements at Northern Ponds and the South West sector, and the introduction of additional gate capacity by increasing the use and flexibility of our remote aprons.

We’ve also considered further works to be completed in the next 15 years, as part of our review during the year. Projects currently under consideration include the development of T4 North and South, and a potential T5 development.

As we consider these projects in the year ahead, we’re focused on delivering continued investment to support the growth of the Sydney, NSW and Australian economies.

Investing in technology

We introduced a state-of-the-art Integrated Operations Centre (IOC) in November.

In a world first, we’ve combined our landside, terminal and airside operations in one location, where we can co-locate and share data with our key stakeholders. With five digital technology video walls featuring more than 100 screens, the IOC gives our teams a complete view of the airport precinct – and the surrounding road network – in real time.

The IOC integrates with airport access control and CCTV, and brings together video feeds from airport terminals and facilities, weather information, ground radar displays, aircraft movements and social media feeds.

Our operations team can communicate instantly with every gate lounge, aerobridge, and check-in counter across our terminals to help quickly respond to day-to-day operational requirements and emerging or potential issues. It also delivers enhanced network and power resilience.

Our investment in this world leading approach has increased preparedness, organisational capability and response times – and is changing the way we work.

“A greater use of technology has given the passenger more control of their airport experience, providing a seamless journey from the ‘couch to the gate’.”

Leveraging technology to deliver a superior customer experience

In addition to the significant capital investment across our business, we’ve delivered a superior customer experience using technology across our terminals.

A greater use of technology has given the passenger more control of their airport experience, providing a seamless journey from the ‘couch to the gate’.

Improving wayfinding throughout our terminals

Our work at T1 International included the introduction of new e-directories with multilingual messaging. Our new Flight Information Display Screens (FIDS) were introduced to provide passengers with the ability to access flight information relevant to them in one of 13 languages. Our new e-directories and FIDS were supported by static wayfinding signs to make it easier for passengers to find their way to gates and airport services.

We also introduced real-time information to help passengers better plan their time at the airport. Live queue wait times were displayed at security screening for the first time to allow passengers to make informed decisions about their journey through the terminal. This was complemented by real-time monitoring of queues at processing points by our staff, to ensure additional resources could be quickly allocated when needed to avoid congestion and maintain a consistent, high level of customer experience.

This technology has delivered an improved passenger experience by making it easier for visitors to find and access the information they need, where and when they need it.

Putting the passenger in charge of their airport experience

In December, we introduced a new social media service via Twitter based on the BizTweet platform. The service allows passengers to tweet their flight number to receive real time flight status updates relevant to them. This is one example of how we’re putting the passenger in charge of their airport experience, allowing them to choose how they access the information they need to ensure a more seamless airport experience.

The introduction of a new Wi-Fi provider led to a significant increase in bandwidth to support the growing use of technology by our visitors as they move through our terminals. This, combined with the introduction of additional charging stations and streamed content in our terminals, supported an improved customer experience for our visitors.

This work will continue in 2017, with the launch of our new website and the investigation of augmented reality and other innovative enhancements to support wayfinding through our terminals. Our open data technology strategy will provide new ways for passengers to access information. By sharing relevant airport information with our stakeholders, we aim to help passengers access the information they need in the format they choose – whether it’s through Sydney Airport’s app, airline communications channels or social media.

Leveraging technology to deliver a superior customer experience

Managing risk

We’ve diversified our debt portfolio and maturity profile this year as part of our commitment to managing risk.

Our focus on risk management is also supported by our ongoing commitment to effective stakeholder engagement. Our close working relationships with our stakeholders have provided greater insights into issues affecting our operations, and provided opportunities to work closely with external organisations and community members to identify solutions and innovations to address emerging issues.