The Qantas Group and Western Sydney International Airport have reached a landmark agreement that will see both Qantas and Jetstar operating domestic flights from the new airport when it opens in late 2026.
The Qantas Group plans to operate up to 15 narrowbody aircraft – 10 Jetstar and five Qantas – from Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport (WSI) within the first year, flying domestic routes such as Melbourne, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
It is expected these aircraft will carry around four million passengers through WSI per annum on more than 25,000 flights. Around 700 operational jobs are expected to be needed, with local recruitment to take place in the lead up to the first flights.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King joined senior executives from Western Sydney Airport and Qantas on a tour of the airport’s construction, which is now more than 50 per cent complete.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce said the national carrier was proud to sign an agreement with Western Sydney International Airport, which is on track to become the sixth biggest airport for the Group within its first year of operation.
“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,” Mr Joyce said.
“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 in the Sydney basin and nationally.
“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 two million trips per year are taken by people who live in the Western Sydney catchment so we know there will be demand for these flights from day one. Jetstar has a long history of stimulating demand when it starts flying to new destinations through low fares, so expect to see some great value travel options,” Mr Joyce added.
WSI CEO Simon Hickey said the agreement 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,” Mr Hickey said.
“We’re enabling WSI with the latest technology, which will deliver an easier and more seamless travel experience.
“Qantas and Jetstar passengers are going to love flying from WSI and we can’t wait to welcome them.
“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, around the size of the world’s major airports, such as Dubai and London Heathrow.”
With the criticality of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) to the future of the aviation industry, the airport and airlines have agreed to work together to develop projects in Western Sydney that can supply SAF to WSI which can be used to power flights. SAF helps to lower emissions by up to 80 per cent on a lifecycle basis compared to fossil fuels and is key to decarbonising the aviation industry.
The airport and the Qantas Group are continuing discussions on international and freight operations at WSI.
While WSI will be an airport serving all of Sydney, it is set to strongly benefit communities across Western Sydney. To date the project has spent more than $400 million with businesses based in the region. Half of the workforce bringing the airport to life are Western Sydney locals and almost a third are learning on the job, through apprenticeships, traineeships and other vocational training.
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