Reforms to the Sydney Airport Demand Management Framework

The Australian Government is progressing reforms to the Sydney Airport demand management framework. The objectives of the reforms are to improve efficiency at the airport, improve use of the capacity of this significant piece of national infrastructure, maintain community protections, enhance aviation competition, and strengthen the compliance regime.

The Government will be consulting with key community and industry organisations on the best way to implement these reforms in coming months, ahead of bringing forward legislation to Parliament.

The Government has also been consulting on Sydney Airport demand management issues through the Aviation White Paper process. The Government will deliver the Aviation White Paper this year and will have more to say about its outcomes at that time.

Recovery period – movement cap and aircraft noise

The curfew and movement cap at Sydney Airport play an important role in managing aircraft noise over nearby communities. The Government is not making any changes to the existing curfew arrangements or maximum number of flights per day at Sydney Airport.

The Government is proposing some modest changes to the movement cap to create a strictly controlled ‘recovery period’ mode that will help reduce delays when there is severe weather or other major disruptions outside the control of airlines or the airport. More information about the proposal is available here.

Regional NSW protections

The Government supports strong protections to make sure that regional NSW communities and businesses can stay connected to the wider Australian community and to the world. The Government has developed a measured package of reforms to the demand management system to improve efficiency and promote competition while also ensuring strong protections for regional NSW communities. More information about the regional protections proposals is available here.

Enhancing competition and compliance

The Government wants a strong and competitive aviation sector that gives travellers more choice. However, the current system for issuing slots at Sydney Airport is outdated and does not adequately support the Government’s objectives for promoting competition and choice.

In addition, the regulatory compliance framework is outdated, limiting the Government’s ability to undertake effective and robust regulatory action to crack down on behaviour by airlines that disadvantages consumers.

The Government has developed a measured package of reforms to promote competition for the benefit of consumers and introduce a modern compliance regime.

More information about the proposals to enhance competition and strengthen compliance is available here.

Improving efficiency

Sydney Airport supports significant economic activity and connects Australians to each other and to the world. The Government recognises that the current demand management framework needs updating so that it better supports operational efficiencies at Sydney Airport.

The Government is reforming the framework to improve efficiency while ensuring strong protections for communities.

More information about the proposals to improve efficiency is available here.


More information on the Sydney Airport demand management scheme and the Harris Review is available on the department’s website here.