Sydney Airport has around 300,000 aircraft movements per year mostly international and domestic passenger jets. Sydney Airport had 37 million passengers pass through its terminals in 2012.

Sharing aircraft noise

A Long Term Operating Plan has been in place at Sydney airport since 1996. The aim of the plan is to operate as many flight paths over water or non-residential land as practicable and where this is not possible, to share the noise burden of aircraft over residential land as equitably as possible.

The targets of the plan are to have the majority of aircraft movements, 55 per cent, to the south over water, with 17 per cent of movements to the north, 15 per cent to the west and 13 per cent to the east. These targets may not always be met because runway use is determined largely by wind direction for safety reasons.


Sydney Airport has a curfew that restricts both aircraft type and runway usage between the hours of 11pm and 6am. During the curfew, when conditions permit, aircraft are required to operate over Botany Bay – that is, to take-off to the south and land to the north, to avoid flight over residential areas as far as possible. More detail on curfew restrictions are available at the Department for Infrastructure and Transport.

Flight paths

Jet arrivals at Sydney Airport approach the centre point of the airport, at approximately 20km out from the airport. This results in a flight path pattern that is ‘M’ shaped to the north of the airport and ‘W’ shaped to the south. There are 10 departure flight paths out of Sydney Airport; three to the south, three to the north, two to the west and two to the east. Approximately half of Sydney Airport departures are over the ocean. Suburbs to the north of the airport, aligned with runways up to 10km, are regularly flown over by departing jets at altitudes below 5000ft approximately 1500m.


Legend: Red = Jet Arrivals, Green = Jet Departures

More information

Sydney Airport