The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss has approved Sydney Airport's Master Plan, which sets out its strategic direction for the next 20 years. But he has added that Sydney still requires a second airport to cater for demand.

It is a vision which is hoped will significantly improve the airport experience for airline passengers – 37 million in 2012 growing to more than 74 million by 2033 – by increasing airport efficiency and maximising capacity.

Today, the airport supports 28,000 jobs directly and 283,700 jobs indirectly, while making an economic contribution of $27.6 billion, equivalent to 6 per cent of the NSW economy and 2 per cent of the Australian economy.

Sydney Airport estimates the infrastructure development proposed in the Master Plan will see the airport’s economic contribution further increase to 400,000 jobs and over $42 billion per year by 2033.

It includes a substantial reconfiguration and expansion of Sydney Airport’s existing passenger terminals at T1 and T2/T3, creating integrated terminals for international, domestic and regional passenger operations.

The plan also provides for the development of engineering precincts to accommodate multiple airlines in the longer term; creates transport interchanges to facilitate fast, affordable and reliable access to multiple transport options; includes a number of road improvement projects to reduce traffic congestion, and incorporates water and energy efficiencies into the new terminal developments.

Sydney Airport has stated that it is committed to working with organisations across the aviation industry to target carbon-neutral growth by 2020, as a step towards a carbon-free future for aviation.

Most of the energy consumed by airports is electricity used in passenger terminals for heating, cooling and lighting. Electricity and natural gas consumption make up over 98% of greenhouse gases accounted for in Sydney Airport’s carbon footprint which, in 2010–11, was estimated to be 95,593 tonnes.

Sydney Airport has developed an Energy and Carbon Strategy 2013+, which sets out targets for responsible energy use and reduction of carbon emissions.

Key initiatives for the future include:

• Sydney Airport is planning for a trigeneration facility within the airport with initial feasibility assessments currently being considered. Trigeneration is the simultaneous production of three forms of energy: (low carbon) electricity, heating and cooling. Benefits include reduced greenhouse gas emissions

•Continued investment in fixed electrical ground power for aircraft, reducing emissions and noise and improving local air quality

•Encouraging the use of more sustainable forms of transport to access the airport, including public transport and cycling

•Other sustainable energy saving and related initiatives, including the use of solar hot water and LED lighting

Sydney Airport has also invested in a water recycling system in the T1 precinct, an initiative supported by the NSW Government. Wastewater is collected, treated using biological and chemical methods, then recirculated and reused throughout the precinct for flushing toilets and in cooling towers.

In 2012, the plant was saving an average of 600,000 litres of drinking water every day. The plant has additional capacity with further expansions in the wings.

Despite all the investment, Truss said that approval for the Airport’s Masterplan does not negate the need for a second airport.

“While the plan sets out plans to use the airport’s limited growth potential to full effect, it does not change the underlying constraints on the site and it is clear the Sydney region will need another major airport to cope with soaring demand,” said he said.

“The Government is proceeding with its commitment to make a decision on the location of a new airport within its first term.”

He added that approval of the Master Plan did not constitute approval of the significant developments outlined in it.

“Major developments will require further planning processes, community consultation and approval before going ahead,” said Truss.

Sydney-Airport map

click to enlarge