Sydney Airport never closed the doors to any of its terminals, even in the darkest and most uncertain days of the COVID crisis, despite losing close to a million dollars a day to do so.
They knew it would have been catastrophic for thousands of essential workers, foreign nationals heading home, the more than 100,000 Australians who have repatriated since March, and the critical freight flights that kept our export industries afloat.
They realised early in 2020 that if Sydney Airport as a business was to get through the crisis, everyone who called the Airport home would need to get through with them. They closed the East-West runway to allow our airline partners to park aircraft free of charge. This in-kind assistance ran into millions of dollars in forgone revenue. In April, they offered 100% rental waivers to ‘mum and dad’ tenants that went well beyond what was required by the Code of Conduct.
On multiple occasions, they were called on to ‘stand up’ new procedures for processing passengers, sometimes with less than 12 hours’ notice. For context, undertaking an operational change like moving all Melbourne flights to the International terminal would typically take months of planning – during COVID this was turned around in 48 hours. In response to these issues, they rolled out a volunteer program called ‘SYD Support’ which saw the deployment of predominately head office staff into the terminals.
Superintendent Andy Holland, Commander, South Sydney Police Area Command said: “I would go as far to say that the work put in by the Sydney Airport has been instrumental restricting and reducing the transmission of the COVID-19 spread across NSW.’’
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