During the pandemic, the runway at Sydney Airport accommodated nearly 50 grounded aircraft of almost all domestic airlines.
The runway operations were temporarily ceased on 22 April 2020. They have been re-opened to support essential maintenance works on the main north-south runway and also accommodate the gradual recovery in domestic air traffic.
Sydney Airport chief aeronautical officer Dhruv Gupta said: “The re-opening of the runway will help us facilitate essential maintenance works on our main north-south runway.
“We’ve had some encouraging signs with the opening of the New Zealand bubble and the ongoing gradual improvement in domestic passenger traffic, but as of March 2021 we were still 68% down overall from where we were in March 2019.”
The east-west runway was re-opened after consultations with Airservices Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and community stakeholders.
It is primarily used during weather disruptions and under ‘noise-sharing’ arrangements.
Sydney Airport Government and Community Relations special advisor Ted Plummer said: “We appreciate that communities to the north and south of the airport would have experienced an increase in aircraft noise recently, relative to periods in 2020 when state borders were closed.
“Air traffic still remains well below pre-Covid levels. However, the re-opening of the east-west runway means whatever air traffic there is can be distributed more evenly while we do maintenance on the main north-south runway.
“The re-opening of the runway also means residents who haven’t seen an aircraft overhead for more than a year will notice an increase in traffic, particularly to the east in suburbs like Coogee and Randwick and to the west around Bexley and Hurstville.”
According to Sydney Airport passenger traffic data, domestic traffic in March had recovered to 48% of March 2019 levels, but the international passenger’s traffic is still down by 97%.