Sydney Airport passengers set to top 74 million by 2033

SYDNEY (AFP) - Sydney Airport on Wednesday released a draft master plan to allow Australia's biggest airport to handle more than 74 million passengers a year by 2033 without the need for new runways or the lifting of a night curfew.

The plan comes amid renewed calls for a second airport in the city to complement Kingsford Smith, which is only eight kilometres from the city centre and in 2012 handled 36.9 million travellers.

The proposed plan reconfigures buildings to integrate international and domestic terminals, which are currently separated, and improve traffic flow on the ground through new roads and facilities to encourage the use of public transport.

"It will vastly improve the experience for passengers transferring between international and domestic services, many of whom will be able to transfer under one roof," Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said.

"Sydney Airport is Australia's gateway airport. This concept plan provides the flexibility to meet the evolving needs of the aviation market."

Mather said the proposed traffic changes, including a new one-way ring road for two terminals, would increase "green light" time at key intersections by up to 33 per cent.

"Numerous government studies have shown that while we have runway and apron capacity for several decades to come, it is ground access to the airport that is impacting on customers," she said.

Sydney Airport is the nation's most significant transport and tourism infrastructure, generating an economic contribution of Aus$27.6 billion (S$33.31 billion) a year.

With demand for air travel expected to rise over the next 20 years, passenger numbers are forecast to gradually increase from 36.9 million in 2012 to 74.3 million in 2033.

Aircraft numbers are also forecast to rise from 321,700 to 409,500 and air freight from 615,378 tonnes to 1,011,312 tonnes over the same time period.

Industry group Tourism and Transport Forum said the plan was sensible but did not mean that a second airport was not needed.

"What we need is to get more out of our existing airport but also invest in a new airport," chief executive Ken Morrison told state broadcaster ABC.

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