Airport Review: Sydney


The Kingsford Smith International Airport is Australia’s busiest and one of the oldest continuously operated commercial airports in the world.

Sydney Airport’s market place. Credit: Destination NSW

The Kingsford Smith International Airport, named after an Australian aviation pioneer, started taking regular flights in 1924, making it one of the world’s oldest continuously operated commercial airports. Australia’s busiest, it handles over 42 million travellers a year. After years of seemingly endless renovations, its international terminal has settled to become a much-improved and more inviting space.

Airport code




Located at Mascot, south of the city centre, with runways jutting into Botany Bay, where James Cook first landed in Australia in 1770. Distance to CBD 15 kilometres

Taxis & hire cabs

Taxi stands are located outside arrivals at both the international and domestic terminals. Fares are metered. The city centre is 25 minutes away and costs $AUD45–55. Terminals also have Avis, Budget, Hertz, Europcar and other car-rental outlets.

Other transport

The train ( stops at both international and domestic terminals; follow signs from arrivals. Trains run about every 10 minutes at peak times. Public buses ( also operate from T1 and T3.

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There are three terminals, international (T1) and domestic (T2 and T3). You can walk between domestic terminals. A complimentary shuttle bus connects the international terminal.

Lounge access

Air Niugini’s Gold Executive Club members have access to the Qantas Club International Lounge, which has a barista and bar counter, buffet food, work stations, relaxation areas and showers.


International fashion and cosmetic outlets, sunglasses, watches and duty free are complemented by shops selling Australian goods, including wine, chocolates, merino-wool clothing, and boots from UGG and iconic outback company R.M. Williams.

Food & beverage

The international terminal has sushi, informal cafe-style and fast food, Chinese dining, barbecued chicken and gourmet food from The Bistro by Wolfgang Puck, the celebrity Austrian-American chef.


Sydney Airport has free Wi-Fi. Select ‘Free SYD Wi-Fi’ from your connection options and register your details to obtain access.

Closest hotels

Pullman Sydney Airport ( is the only five-star hotel in the airport area and has elegant art-hung spaces, chic rooms, meeting facilities and flexible dining times.

Rydges Sydney Airport ( is right beside the international terminal and has runway views and good soundproofing. It has several dining options, conference facilities and a gym. The surprisingly stylish Ibis Sydney Airport ( is a good economy option a kilometre from the domestic terminal, at Mascot train station.

What else

You’ll also find a pharmacy, meeting and conference rooms, shower facilities, prayer room and a post office. There are two interactive kids’ zones with game options and touch-screen technology.

Favourite corner

Hard to resist a browse at the Lonely Planet shop in the departures area at T1. There are shelves of enticing travel guides and maps, and even the odd globe or two – enough to set you dreaming of your next destination.

This story was first published in the January-February edition of Paradise, the in-flight magazine of Air Niugini.

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