What are the curfew rules?

A curfew limits the types of aircraft that are permitted to use Sydney Airport between 11.00pm and 6.00am each day.

This curfew applies only to movements that originate from, or end at, Sydney Airport.  This means that an aircraft may travel over Sydney during the curfew if it is coming and going from destinations other than Sydney Airport such as, for example, Bankstown or Camden Airports or other aerodromes or helipads.

Aircraft that are permitted to use Sydney Airport during the curfew include emergency services such as law enforcement and medical flights, low-noise jets, some freight movements and, in exceptional circumstances, other aircraft that have been granted a dispensation to land by the Minister.

An aircraft may take off after the start of curfew if it received taxi clearance before the curfew began.

Under the curfew regulations, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development may permit a limited number of passenger flights to land between 5.00am and 6.00am during non-daylight-saving periods. These flights arrive after the curfew ends at 6.00am when daylight saving is in place, but arrive an hour earlier when clocks are turned back at the end of daylight saving. These flights generally originate from ports where curfews prevent them leaving later.

During the curfew aircraft must take off and land over Botany Bay.  The only exception to this is for emergency services.  When an aircraft landing at or taking off from Sydney Airport flies over residential suburbs during the curfew it is usually the Royal Flying Doctor Service or another emergency medical flight.  This is because these flights are always given the most direct route between the airport and the emergency due to the nature of their missions. You can use WebTrak to identify these flights by their flight number which will begin with AM (NSW Air Amubulance), FD (Royal Flying Doctor Service) or RSCU (NSW Rescue Helicopter).

The curfew legislation allows aircraft operators to be fined for breaches of the curfew.  It is very rare that a breach occurs. The Department of Infrastructure actively monitors curfew movements and conducts investigations of suspected breaches. Learn more about the curfew rules at the Department of Infrastructure website.

Read the Airport Curfews fact sheet.

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