Sydney Airport almost back to pre-pandemic levels of traffic as it hits historic milestone

sydney airport
© Kurt Ams

Sydney Airport is almost back to pre-pandemic levels of activity with more than 3 million passengers passing through the airport in March 2023, its strongest post-Covid performance to date.

The 3,166,000 passengers represent an 86.7% recovery compared to March 2019.

More than 1 million passengers passed through T1 International alone in March 2023, while more than 2 million travellers passed through the domestic terminals.

Travellers from the US ranked second in the list of top 10 nationalities of passengers coming through Sydney Airport, although the overall number was still significantly lower than March 2019.

The number of visitors from the UK is growing with the recovery rate in March hitting 87.4%, its highest point since the international border reopened in February last year.

There was a sharp rise in the number of Chinese nationals coming to Australia, with the March number representing a 39.6% recovery compared to March 2019, this is up from a 24.7% recovery rate in February.

“With new airlines and routes coming online, momentum is starting to build, especially in our T1 International terminal,” Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said.

“For the first-time since the Australian border reopened to tourists, international passenger numbers have cracked the 80 percent recovery mark, with many airlines increasing capacity.

“With China now open for business, and the European and North American summer almost here, we anticipate our international traffic will continue to pick-up in the coming months.”

Sydney Airport recently welcomed its 50th airline, with Vietjet launching its inaugural service to Sydney from Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietjet is the sixth new airline Sydney Airport has onboarded in the last 12 months including Batik Air Indonesia; Bamboo Airways; SriLankan Airlines; Thai AirAsia X; and T’way Air.

“For the first time in our proud 103-year history, we have 50 airlines flying through Sydney Airport,” Culbert said.

“This is an incredible achievement when you consider air travel was almost non-existent through Covid.

“The Vietnam market has experienced a strong surge in capacity and demand, with passenger volumes 14 per cent above pre-Covid levels in March 2023.”