Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said low-cost carriers have doubled their presence at the airport over the past two years, and tips more are likely to come in the period ahead.
Mather said 10 per cent of all international seats at Sydney Airport were from long-haul, low-cost carriers such as AirAsia X, Scoot and Jetstar, up from five per cent two years ago.
Sydney Airport will add a fourth major low-cost carrier from Asia in September, when Cebu Pacific begins service from Manila.
“With Cebu Pacific coming in we will really have the top four Asia-Pacific low-cost carriers,” Mather said during Sydney Airport’s first half results presentation on Thursday.
“But there are many more that are establishing themselves in Asia and who have indicated an interest in actually coming to Australia.”
Mather said low-cost carriers tended to “actually focus on off-peak periods” and with their quick turnarounds were very efficient operators in and out of the airport.
In addition to Cebu Pacific, other airlines are also adding services or using larger aircraft to Sydney in the period ahead.
Philippine Airlines was scheduled to increase its services to daily from four times a week currently, Air Canada planned to replace Boeing 777-200LR with the larger 777-300ER on its daily Vancouver-Sydney flight and Delta has added extra seats to its Boeing 777-200LR that flies daily between Sydney and Los Angeles.
Also, Cathay Pacific will begin replacing the Airbus A330 with a Boeing 777-300ER on one of its four daily flights between Sydney and Hong Kong.
“Having come through a period of very significant capacity growth really over the last 12 months, in the near term we would expect to see load factor improvement,” Mather said.
“But there are a number of capacity additions coming through.”
Mather noted airlines were using about 327,000 of the 500,000 available slots at Sydney Airport each year under the current government legislated cap on aircraft movements.
“We’ve got plenty of capacity,” Mather said.
Meanwhile, Mather said the airport planned to start discussions on a new agreement over airport aeronautical charges with international airlines during the half.
The current agreement expires in June 2015.
“We’d be looking for something that not only incentivises volume growth from the airline but also delivers an appropriate return on investment,” Mather said.