Qantas, Jetstar Commit To Fly From Western Sydney Airport

Qantas Airways and Jetstar jets
Credit: Aviation Visuals/Alamy Stock Photo

Qantas Group has committed to operating up to 15 aircraft on domestic routes from under-construction Western Sydney International Airport (WSI) when the new airport opens in 2026.

WSI will be Sydney’s second airport, with capacity to handle 10 million annual passengers. Construction on the airport is 50% complete, according to Qantas Group. Sydney Airport (SYD) handled 12.1 million passengers in the first four months of 2023.

Qantas Airways will operate up to 10 narrowbody aircraft from WSI, while LCC subsidiary Jetstar Airways will fly up to five narrowbody aircraft from the airport. Around 700 Qantas Group employees will be based at WSI.

The airline group says routes to be opened in the first year of WSI’s operation will include Brisbane, Melbourne and Gold Coast.

“It is expected [the 15 aircraft] will carry around 4 million passengers through WSI per annum on more than 25,000 flights,” Qantas says in a statement. 

Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce was on hand at the airport on June 8, where Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and other government officials joined executives from Qantas and WSI on a tour of the construction site.

“In just over three years, Qantas and Jetstar will take off from Western Sydney, connecting one of Australia’s fastest-growing areas through direct flights across the country,” Joyce says. “As we take delivery of more aircraft and expand our fleet, we see Western Sydney Airport as a significant growth opportunity for the group, which will complement our existing operations [at SYD] and nationally.”

He adds: “Western Sydney International Airport has some big strategic advantages, with no curfew, technology that allows aircraft to be turned around quickly and a next-generation baggage system. Our data shows that more than 2 million trips per year are taken by people who live in the Western Sydney catchment area, so we know there will be demand for these flights from day one.”

WSI CEO Simon Hickey says Qantas Group’s commitment to the airport “sends an incredibly powerful signal globally about the strength of WSI’s offering for airlines and passengers. This is a substantial Qantas and Jetstar presence at Sydney’s new major airport.”

He adds: “WSI is being designed for growth and will eventually become Sydney’s biggest airport. We have a roadmap to grow to 82 million annual passengers [by the 2060s], around the size of the world’s major airports, such as Dubai and London Heathrow.”

The airport and Qantas say they have agreed to work together “to develop projects ... that can supply [sustainable aviation fuel] to WSI, which can be used to power flights.”

For now, Qantas is only committing to domestic passenger flights at the airport, but WSI and the airline say they "are continuing discussions on international and freight operations at WSI."

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.