A major overhaul of Sydney Airport would see Australia's busiest airport transformed into two 'airline alliance-based precincts' for Qantas and Virgin Australia, with international, domestic and regional services operating under one roof.
The scheme, revealed today by the privately-held Sydney Airport Corporation, would allocate the current domestic Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 exclusively to Qantas, Jetstar and members of the oneworld alliance, with one terminal for domestic flights and the other for international services.
On the other side of the runway, today's international Terminal 1 would become the new home for Virgin Australia and its growing roster of international partners including Etihad, Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Delta.
Other international airlines would continue to operate from T1, although they would likely be clustered around their own group of gates.
The change would reduce the time and hassle involved in transit between international and domestic services.
To help give you an idea of the scale of this project, here's how Sydney Airport currently works (or, as some might say, doesn't work).
There are seperate international and domestic terminals, with transfers between the two done via shuttle bus – a free 'scenic ride' around the perimeter of the tarmac if you're with Qantas, or a paid trundle via public roads for connecting to other domestic airlines.
Also makes above is the 'Qantas Jet Base' hangar facility, directly below the domestic terminals.
Now here's how Sydney Airport would like things to look, circa 2019, if this massive makeover gets the green light.
We're now looking back towards Sydney, from the other side of the photo shown above.
Virgin Australia's domestic and regional flights would operate from one arm of what is today the international terminal (T1).
Adjacent to this would be all international flights by Virgin Australia and its partners...
... while international airlines not affiliated with Virgin (or Qantas) would be located further down T1.
And here's the new home for Qantas and friends. Under the plan, T2 and T3 become a single mega-terminal for all domestic and regional flights by Qantas, Jetstar and QantasLink.
Some international flights by Qantas and its oneworld partners also appear ear-marked for this terminal, if the image below is any guide.
There'll also be a second international wing built where the Qantas Jet base stands today.
Sydney Airport believes the proposal can become reality by 2019. Here's a video prepared by the airport (and from which we grabbed the images above) to show how the new airport will look.
About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.