australian aviation logo

Deborah Lawrie to forever fly over Reg Ansett at Sydney Airport

written by Jake Nelson | November 6, 2023

Deborah Lawrie (right) with Sydney Airport chief corporate affairs officer Karen Halbert and NSW Minister for Roads John Graham at the opening of the Deborah Lawrie Flyover. (Image: Sydney Airport)

Pioneering female pilot Deborah Lawrie AM has been honoured with the naming of a new flyover bridge at Sydney Airport.

The 800-metre Deborah Lawrie Flyover, part of the $2.6 billion Sydney Gateway project, passes over Sir Reginald Ansett Drive to the domestic terminals and is slated to open this weekend. Lawrie famously won a 10-month legal battle against Ansett’s refusal to hire women as pilots in the 1970s.

In a statement, Lawrie said she is “very honoured and humbled” to have the flyover named after her, and hopes to “continue to inspire future generations of aviators”.

“If someone had said to me way back when I was 25, taking on Ansett in the High Court to become a commercial airline pilot, that one day there would be a flyover into Sydney Airport named after me, I would have thought they were mad,” she said.

“To me, the flyover is like a gentle descending turn onto final approach, an engineering masterpiece. Friends and colleagues are delighted when they hear that the flyover passes right over the top of Sir Reginald Ansett Drive.


“I’ve walked beside and been fascinated by the construction of the flyover many times on my way to work but since I found out it will carry my name, I’ve stopped to take photos.”

NSW Minister for Roads, John Graham, hailed Lawrie as “a great Australian pioneer for women’s rights and workplace equality”.

“The fact that the Deborah Lawrie Flyover will cast a little shade over Sir Reginald Ansett Drive is most fitting for a woman who refused to be grounded by the era she grew up in and the man who said she would never make a commercial airline pilot,” he said.

“Traffic using the flyover from Sunday is a key milestone for the toll-free Gateway project which is due for completion in 2024 and will have capacity for over 100,000 vehicles a day, solving one of Sydney’s most enduring traffic pinch points.”

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member today!

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.