Newcastle Airport has posted a slender increase in passenger numbers despite losing services to Sydney and Canberra after the collapse of Brindabella Airlines.
The Hunter region airport said 1.19 million travellers passed through the terminal in the 12 months to June 30 2014, up 1.2 per cent from 1.18 million in the prior corresponding period.
Newcastle Airport chief executive Paul Hughes said the figures were encouraging.
“To record a positive growth result in the current challenging aviation domestic market is a significant achievement,” Hughes said in a statement.
More than 80 per cent of all passengers at Newcastle flew to either Brisbane or Melbourne, the airport said.
Meanwhile there was a 30 per cent increase in passenger numbers to the Gold Coast following Qantas-owned Jetstar’s boost to services to the Queensland tourist strip.
The airport lost services to Sydney and Canberra in December 2013, when Brindabella Airlines collapsed.
About 140 people lost their jobs after receivers KordaMentha was unable to find a buyer for the Canberra-based regional carrier.
Hunter-based Hansen Yuncken will shortly start work on a $14.5 million upgrade at Newcastle Airport that was expected to be finished by 2015.
Once completed, the expanded airport terminal would allow for more domestic flights, provide more space for shops and allow the airport to handle international flights.
“Our passenger numbers prove the importance of the airport as a transport hub for the region and I am looking forward to delivering a new terminal that supports our growth forecasts, benefiting the community,” Hughes said.