For quite an extensive period of time now Sydney Airport Terminal 1 (International) had it’s Arrivals Immigration Fast Lane closed to due ongoing construction work.
Having the fast track closed at such a busy airport was a huge nuisance for premium class and elite travelers arriving in Sydney, and you were reading complaints just about anywhere where travel is being discussed.
Terminal 1 is Sydney’s main terminal for international Arrivals/Departures and the airlines used to give out passes to utilize the express lanes:
Nowadays, most carriers print the invitation as a remark on the boarding pass but sometimes they still hand out the physical invitation cards. Depending on the staff working the lines sometimes they are being collected and sometimes they aren’t.
The guys from Executive Traveler (access here) have confirmed the news with an airport spokesperson:
… Premium travellers and top-tier frequent flyers will breathe a sign of relief next week when Sydney Airport re-introduces the Express Path departures lane at its T1 international terminal.
That fast track for outbound flyers has been shuttered since May due to construction work around the Express Path area, and affected both the passport control and security screening lanes. …
A spokesperson for Sydney Airport has confirmed to Executive Traveller that “the Express Path at T1 is due to open at the end of the month”.
Passengers weren’t impressed and during peak times long lines formed. John has recently visited Sydney but didn’t encounter problems at immigration with lineups. Obviously, it depends as always on the time slot you arrive there.
Since there are machines available to process the immigration formalities, the procedure is a little better with more flow.
I remember using the Express Path frequently when I lived in Sydney and it was pretty convenient – completely the opposite of what passengers had to endure for the last three months.
Construction is all nice and well, but I don’t understand why the airport wouldn’t find an alternative solution to ease the pain a little bit. Instead they just closed everything down and said “too bad”. Reminds me of on tarmac arrivals for aircraft and some airlines don’t invest in a separate bus for passengers in First- and Business Class.