Monday, 20 April 2020

MILESTONE: Sydney Airport International Terminal Turns 50 (1970)

Sydney Airport's International Terminal in 1970.
Source: Anon. 1970. "Untitled" (Photograph). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 1: 2 (Air Traveller Feature). 

1970 was a big year for Sydney Airport. Not only did it welcome the "Queen of the Skies" - Boeing's 747 jumbo jet, it also opened a new international terminal complex. Before 1970, the international terminal was located where the Qantas Domestic Terminal (T3) stands today.

Plans were unveiled in 1965. Click here for my 2015 entry which provides further details. Several weeks ago, I posted clippings of one scheme which was to provide both domestic and international services in the one terminal and the eventual design of the terminal considered future domestic terminals at its northern and southern ends.

Above: A sketch of the International Terminal in 1970.
Source: Anon. 1970. "Untitled" (Sketch). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 1: 2 (Air Traveller Feature). 

Construction of the terminal cost $31 million, which was $11 million (5.5 million pounds) over the projected cost of 1965. According to the RBA Inflation Calculator, it would cost the equivalent of $365 000 000 in todays money.

Queen Elizabeth II opened the terminal on May 3, 1970.

To accommodate growth in passenger numbers and flights, major extensions to the terminal occurred in 1992 and 2000 with further upgrades in 2010 and 2016. Upgrades with Sydney Airport have become a normal way of life in recent years.

Other works have included the construction of a multi-level carpark, office block and hotel during the 2000's. In 2000, an underground railway station opened connecting the terminal with the City Circle, Airport and East Hills Railway Lines.

Initially, road access was only via Airport Drive, with a bridge built to link it with Marsh Street, Arncliffe and the Princes Highway in 1972.

Facts of Interest

  • Contained 400 000 square feet or 37 000 square metres of space.
  • Construction of the terminal took six years (three years of site preparation and a further three years for construction).
  • International Restaurant with seating for 200 people plus bars and lounges.
  • Parking for 2500 cars. Parking cost 20 cents per hour up to a maximum of $2 per day. 
  • Fifteen airlines used the terminal in 1970 and could process 14 000 people per hour. Around 70 000 (Needs verification) can be processed per hour in 2020.
  • Shops included a newsagent, duty free store and gift shops. 
Below is a cross section of the terminal as featured in The Sydney Morning Herald. Can you spot the similarities and changes to that of 2020? Unfortunately, there is no longer a public observation deck to enjoy the planes taking off and landing. 

Source: Anon. 1970. "Untitled" (Sketch). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 1: 2 (Air Traveller Feature). 

Next week, I will share newspaper supplements from The Australian and The Daily Telegraph. 

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