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A record 43.3 million passengers have passed through Sydney Airport’s three terminals over the past year, as more international visitors on more of the giant A380’s landed in Sydney than ever before.

That number is up 3.6 per cent on 2016’s 41.8 million passengers.

And, with Malaysia Airlines becoming the ninth carrier to use the maximum 838-seat A380 to service Sydney in 2017, Sydney International Airport became the world’s fastest growing A380 port.

That also helped the airport boost international traffic to 16 million passengers, up 7.2 per cent on 2016.

Domestic traffic was also up, by 1.6 per cent, to 27.4 million people.

Chief executive Geoff Culbert said the significant increase in international traffic was driven by the growing capacity on Middle Eastern, Asian and US routes.

“The capacity additions have totalled well over one million new international seats for the second consecutive year and the pipeline of capacity announcements continues to be strong for the coming season,” Mr Culbert said in a statement on Friday.

Mr Cuthbert said a concerted focus on connecting Sydney with China had played a part, with Chinese passenger volumes up by 17.3 per cent in 2017..

“Sydney Airport now serves 17 mainland Chinese cities, representing 90 per cent of all travel on the China-Sydney route,” Mr Culbert said.

Chinese travellers were one of the fastest growing foreign nationalities passing through the terminals, along with Indian, South Korean and American.

Total passenger numbers lifted 3.5 per cent in December, with international traffic up 5.6 per cent and domestic passenger traffic lifting 2.1 per cent on December 2016.

The number of Australians heading overseas also rose, by 5.3 per cent, in December with “many Australians choosing to travel overseas during the Christmas holiday period”, Mr Culbert said.

FACTBOX – Top 10 Source Nations Travelling Through Sydney Airport:

1. Australia

2. China (Including Hong Kong)

3.New Zealand

4. USA

5. UK

6. South Korea

7. India

8. Japan

9. Malaysia

10. Germany