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Sydney’s Airport recognises aviation pioneers as part of centenary celebrations

June 20, 2019 Airport No Comments Email Email

Sydney Airport renamed its two corporate buildings to honour Australian aviation pioneers Nigel Love and Charles Ulm.

In 1919, Nigel Love chose a bullock paddock in Mascot to launch his aviation ambitions, the location where Sydney Airport still stands 100 years later. Love piloted the first commercial flight in Sydney that same year, heralding the start of a new era in aviation.

Charles Ulm is one of Australia’s most visionary aviation trailblazers. Ulm flew the record-breaking circumnavigation of Australia in 1927 and was part of a four-man crew on the ‘Southern Cross’, the world’s first trans-Pacific flight from the United States in 1928.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said the airport’s centenary was an incredible milestone.

“We’re proud to celebrate 100 years of being a part of the fabric of this city,” he said.

“Renaming our headquarters pays tribute to the significant contribution both Nigel Love and Charles Ulm played in the history of both our airport and nation. They were among the first to foresee the incredible potential of global air travel.”

Nigel Love and passenger_image courtesy of John Love

The airport shared an unveiling ceremony with the families of some of the most important aviation trailblazers in history. Descendants from Nigel Love, Charles UIm, Charles Kingsford Smith, Nancy-Bird Walton, Billy Marshall and Keith “Bill” Bradfield, all gathered together for the first time to honour their family legacies. 

To further capture the rich history of Sydney Airport, the airport has launched SYDStories, which tells the story of some of the key moments in the history of aviation, Sydney Airport and Australia and the people who made them happen.

“SYDStories is an important reflection on the role we’ve played in Sydney’s growth over the past century and celebrates the many people who have been part of the evolution of the airport,” Mr Culbert said.

“From Nigel Love’s solitary flight in 1919 carrying Billy Marshall, we’ve grown to accommodate more than 44 million passengers, with an on-airport community of more than 32,000.”

Sydney Airport’s runways have welcomed the ‘Southern Cross’ in 1928 to a crowd of 300,000 people, Australia’s first jetliner in 1955, the supersonic Concorde in 1972 and the world’s first commercial A380 passenger flight in 2007.

John Love_son of Aviation pioneer Nigel Love

From greeting The Beatles with thousands of screaming fans huddled in the pouring rain, to a short serenade from Louis Armstrong upon his arrival, the airport has connected Sydney to the world throughout its 100-year history.

“The next 100 years at Sydney’s Airport will be a story of ultra-long range travel by supersonic, hypersonic and yet-to-be-conceived aircraft to continue the tourism, trade and economic growth of the best city in the world,” Mr Culbert said.

“This year we’ll welcome our billionth passenger. Our focus today and over the next 100 years is on making the journey better for our customers.”

To find out about the incredible milestones in the airport’s history, immerse yourself in SYDStories by visiting

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