Sydney Airport’s domestic air travel to hit post-COVID-19 peak

As the Easter weekend approaches, Sydney Airport (SYD) has forecasted that, on 14 April 2022, 82,000 passengers will pass through its domestic terminals, surpassing peak post-COVID-19 results from 8 April 2022.

Sydney Airport's domestic air travel to hit post-COVID-19 peak

The eve of the Easter long weekend will be the busiest day for domestic air travel in more than two years, with 82,000 passengers forecast to pass through Sydney Airport’s (SYD) domestic terminals on 14 April 2022.

It will represent the first time Sydney Airport’s domestic terminals have had more than 80,000 passengers since the 6 March 2020 and will surpass the previous post-COVID-19 peak of 78,000 domestic passengers on 8 April 2022.

Labour shortages across security personnel, ground handlers, and airline staff means queuing will likely occur in the domestic terminals, and passengers are encouraged to arrive two hours prior to the departure of their domestic flights.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said: “I know it’s a difficult message to hear but Thursday is going to be another tough day for travellers, and I want to apologise in advance to anyone who is inconvenienced.

“ … We are pulling every lever available to us to get people on their way safely, including deploying senior executives and staff into our terminals to manage queues and ensure people make their flights.

“We’re also working with our security contractor, airlines, ground handlers and other operational agencies to make sure we have as many staff on the ground as possible for the morning and afternoon peaks.

“In the last few days we’ve seen the situation improve, but there is no avoiding the fact that significant queuing may occur over Easter. We continue to have up to 20 per cent COVID-related staff absences on any given day and we’re working to rebuild our workforce in a really tight job market.”

Rebuilding workforce ‘will take time’

The arrival of the Easter school holiday peak comes as Sydney Airport’s security contractor, Certis, rebuilds its workforce following the pandemic.

Certis’ workforce is 30 per cent below its pre-COVID staffing levels and the security contractor has been recruiting since December 2021 for more than 100 security screening roles.

50 new screening staff are currently undergoing accreditation and will gradually become available for shifts in the coming weeks. The process to train screening staff to an accredited level takes two months, meaning staff who are coming online joined the security operator in mid-February 2022.

Culbert added: “Certis began recruiting in December 2021 with the prospect of travel restrictions easing in 2022.

“While they are getting people in the door, it is taking longer than we had hoped due to the incredibly tight labour market. The roles that are being recruited are skilled, specialist roles and we won’t compromise on safety and security.

“As more staff join in the weeks and months ahead, we expect some of the security challenges to ease, but rebuilding the workforce will take time.

“The workforce shortages we are facing are cutting across almost every sector in Australia and, in the aviation industry, we’ve seen similar scenes play out with airports and airlines globally.

“We are extremely grateful to passengers for their ongoing patience and also to our airport staff who have been working incredibly hard in really difficult circumstances.”