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The One Billionth Passenger Arrived At Sydney Airport This Morning

Sydney Airport just welcomed its one billionth passenger with streamers, balloons, fanfare and an entire media press pack.

Not many people would be happy to get off an eight-hour flight from Singapore to be greeted by a frenzy of cameras, but perhaps a free upgrade to business class for the whole family would do the trick.

The one billionth passenger was 10-year-old Katinka, from Sydney's Blue Mountains. She flew in with her mum and five-year-old brother on Singapore Airlines flight SQ231, and was greeted with a 'One Billionth Passenger' banner on arrival -- not to mention part of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Katinka looked a bit shell-shocked to be greeted with cameras, but video shows the family enjoying the luxury of business class seats. Singapore Airlines and Sydney Airport have also partnered to send the family anywhere in the world for free within the next 12 months -- economy class return.

More than 44 million passengers arrive in Sydney Airport each year, exactly 100 years after it opened to commercial flights.

"It's an exciting milestone to celebrate in our Centenary year," Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said.

"A hundred years ago, our first commercial passenger arrived in the back of a two-seat bi-plane, landing on a dusty bullock paddock. Today, we're celebrating our billionth passenger who arrived courtesy of an A380 carrying nearly 450 people -- the progress in aviation over the past 100 years is incredible."

Katinka arriving at Sydney Airport. Photo: Supplied.

He also alluded to the long-awaited direct Sydney to London flight, which Qantas is preparing to launch in 2020.

"In 1947, a trip to London required six stops and took 96 hours," Culbert said.

"Today, 70 percent of the world can be reached from Sydney in a single leap, and within five years I'm confident that will be 100 percent."

At the current rate of passenger growth, the two billionth passenger is likely to arrive at Sydney Airport within the next 20 years.

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au