Sydney Airport (IATA code of SYD Airport) is located on Botany Bay about five mile south of Sydney Harbour and the center of the city, occupying a good portion of the suburb of Mascot. It is the country's busiest facility and one of the oldest continually operated airports in the world, having opened in 1924. It ranks in age with the Bucharest Romania Baneasa Airport (1912) and the Madrid Spain Barajas Airport (1928). The facility is also called the Sydney Kingsford Smith International Airport in honor of the country's aviation pioneer, Charles Kingsford Smith, who made the first trans-Pacific flight from the United States to Australia in 1928. The aviator had a few other firsts in his flying career, including the first flight between Australia and New Zealand, the first nonstop flight across the Australian mainland, and the first trans-Pacific flight from Australia to the United States. He also set a record for a flight from Australia to London, England, in under eleven days.
The Sydney Australia Airport underwent a major multimillion dollar renovation completed in 2010, making it one of the most modern in the world. There are three passenger terminals, and the international terminal is separated from the others by a runway. Therefore, if your flights to Sydney from another country have you connecting with domestic flights, you must allow a minimum of 1.25 hours for connecting. There is an inexpensive airport shuttle between the three terminals. Airport shuttle options into the city and surrounding area are also available on buses, trains, limousines, and taxis. Complimentary Sydney Airport shuttle service is available from many of the hotels, especially the luxury hotels and airport hotels.
Sydney Australia Airport is the home hub of the national carrier, Qantas Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world. It ranks approximately thirteenth by number of passengers flown, but is near the top of the list for distance flown due to the remote and isolated nature of the island country. It ranks alongside of SYD Airport as the world's longest continually operating airline, having begun service in 1920. One of the city's museums is actually located in the main Domestic Terminal. Called the Qantas Heritage Collection, it chronicles the history of Australian aviation with thousands of artifacts and memorabilia from the airline's earliest days.
There are international flights into the Sydney Australia Airport from more than twenty cities across the world, including from North and South America, Asia, Europe, Africa, and New Zealand, as well as from other islands in the South Pacific. There are direct flights from many of these cities. Although most visitors to Australia will fly into SYD Airport when they first arrive in the country, there are six other international airports on this vast island nation—all of which are located on its coast. The airport in Melbourne on the southern coast is the second busiest in the country, with numerous flights from Asian countries as well as the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East. Other international airports include: Adelaide on the south central coast, Brisbane between Sydney and Cairns, Darwin in the north, and Perth in the west. Most of these cities have international flights from surrounding Asian countries both on the mainland and various island nations.
In spite of the possibility of flying into other cities, Sydney Airport is where the largest percentage of visitors begins and/or ends their Australia vacations. There are extensive facilities from strategically placed shower facilities to bars, lounges, restaurants, and children's play areas. If you haven't finished all your shopping, you will find everything from souvenirs and high-fashion boutiques to fine jewelers and chocolate shops.