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Delight as A380 flies in Sydney Airport’s billionth passenger

September 6, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Sydney Airport’s one billionth passenger, aged 10 and from Sydney’s Blue Mountains region, flew in yesterday on a Singapore Airlines A380 – a highlight of the airport’s centenary year.

It took 100 years for the airport to reach 1 billion passengers, but demand for travel is rising so fast that the airport forecasts the two-billion-passenger milestone will be reached within just 20 years.

The billionth passenger, 10-year-old Katinka from the Blue Mountains, touched down with her Mum and five-year-old brother shortly after 10am yesterday morning on Singapore Airlines flight SQ231.

Sydney Airport chief executive Geoff Culbert, who greeted Katinka on arrival in Sydney, called the event “an exciting milestone to celebrate in our Centenary year”.

“One hundred years ago,” Culbert continued, “our first commercial passenger arrived in the back of a two-seat biplane, landing on a dusty bullock paddock. Today, we’re celebrating our billionth passenger who arrived courtesy of an A380 carrying nearly 450 people – the progress in aviation over the past 100 years is incredible.”

Sydney Airport processes more than 44 million passengers a year, and at the current rate of passenger growth will reach the two billion passenger milestone within the next 20 years.

“Aussies love to fly and it’s clear that people from around the world love to visit Australia,” Culbert said.

“Air travel has never been easier or more accessible – our billionth passenger has probably flown more in her first 10 years than I did in my first 30, and more than my parent’s generation likely did in their entire lives.”

Left to right: Andy (brother), Sara (Mum), Katinka (billionth passenger)

Looking ahead, Culbert says the future is looking bright for the industry.

“In 1947 a trip to London required six stops and took 96 hours. Today, 70% of the world can be reached from Sydney in a single leap, and within five years I’m confident that will be 100%.”

To mark the occasion, Singapore Airlines upgraded Katinka and her family to business class on the arriving flight, and Sydney Airport and Singapore Airlines partnered to present the family with return economy flights to anywhere in the Singapore Airlines’ network, within the next 12 months.

The billionth passenger was also greeted with a performance by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and received a bumper gift hamper from Sydney Airport’s duty-free partner Heinemann Tax & Duty Free.

Sydney Airport is Australia’s gateway airport, serving more than 44.4 million passengers a year and connecting Sydney to a network of over 100 international, domestic and regional destinations.

Left to right: Philip Goh (Vice President South West Pacific, Singapore Airlines), Katinka (billionth passenger), Sara (Katinka’s mum), Geoff Culbert (CEO Sydney Airport), Andy (Katinka’s brother)

Located eight kilometres from the city centre, Sydney Airport contributes AUD 38 billion in economic activity a year, equivalent to 6.8% of the NSW economy. Sydney Airport is a major employer in NSW, generating more than 338,500 direct and indirect jobs, equivalent to 10.1% of NSW employment. 32,700 of these jobs are at the airport itself across 800 different businesses.

Edited by Peter Needham

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