Travel through Brisbane Airport was up 4.6 per cent last financial year to more than 21 million passengers, setting a new record despite the Qantas grounding and the collapse of Brisbane-based Air Australia.
The uptick came on the back of steady growth in seat capacity, with more than one million seats added on domestic flights and about 300,000 seats added on international services, increases of 5.4 and 4.9 per cent respectively. About 80 per cent of additional domestic capacity came on regional routes, reflecting the continued growth of fly-in/fly-out services for the mining industry.
“Factors such as the Rugby World Cup, the strong Aussie dollar, the addition of new routes and increased capacity to cater for the fly-in-fly-out market helped us achieve a strong result,” airport CEO Julianne Alroe said. “However, floods and earthquakes, as well as difficulties for our airline partners including prolonged industrial action and the collapse of a local carrier, held back growth.”
Services to Perth experienced the highest growth in passenger numbers for the year while the highest load factors were recorded on flights between Avalon (Melbourne) and Brisbane. Almost 57,000 arrivals and departures were recorded on the busiest day for domestic travel, Thursday April 5.
International travel rose by 4.6 per cent to nearly 4.5 million passengers, while the average number of seats per flight was also up on a yearly basis to 239 from 230 due to the utilisation of bigger airliners.
International growth was driven by Australian passport holders heading overseas to take advantage of the strong Aussie dollar, with Australian arrivals and departures up 6.9 per cent, or more than 2 million travellers. Travel from mainland China was up 24 per cent to 179,000 passengers, while travel from India rose 10 per cent.
“We look forward to another busy year ahead with more capacity being added by the local airlines in the first quarter of the 2012 financial year, a full calendar of events promoted in interstate markets, and of course travel for the London Olympic Games giving us a great start to the year,” Ms Alroe said.