Melbourne Airport achieved a six per cent increase in total passenger traffic during the 2012/13 financial year, while Brisbane has reported more modest 1.9 per cent growth.
Melbourne handled an additional 1.6 million passengers through its terminals during the period, with international and domestic passenger numbers reaching 29.9 million.
More than 7 million international passengers travelled through Melbourne – a five per cent increase on the previous year.
Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Vietnam and India were the main drivers of international passenger growth, all recording increases of more than 10 per cent on the previous year.
During the year, Melbourne welcomed new direct services to Chengdu in western China operated by Sichuan Airlines. Emirates introduced a new daily A380 service, while Singapore Airlines commenced a double daily A380 service. Jetstar also commenced its new direct Honolulu service.
Qantas, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia, China Eastern, China Southern, Garuda Airlines, Thai Airways, Philippines Airlines and Air Asia X all also increased capacity on international services.
Event-led tourism generated a significant proportion of the new international traffic. Melbourne Airport CEO Chris Woodruff said the Lions and Wallaby Rugby test series saw a 43 per cent increase in travel by UK passport holders compared to last year.
Domestic passengers increased by six per cent to 22.7 million for 2012/13, accounted for by a stead increase in services by locally-based Jetstar and Tigerair.
Brisbane saw more than 21.6 million international and domestic passengers travelling through the airport during the last financial year, representing growth of 1.9 per cent or 407,000 additional passengers compared with the previous year.
The period saw two new carriers enter the market – Hawaiian Airlines and Philippine Airlines. Thai Airways, Etihad, Qantas and Malaysia Airlines increased flight frequency. Collectively the additional flights equate to a further 11 return international services to Brisbane each week.
The fastest growing source market was China, with 15.9 per cent growth or 28,400 additional arrivals and departures. Visitor numbers from Europe grew by 5.1 per cent during the period.
BNE also experienced a surge in domestic aircraft movements with an additional 270 scheduled flights added to the weekly schedule, resulting in an increase in seat capacity of 7.9 per cent or more than 1.65 million additional seats. Contributing to this result was an increase in scheduled weekly flight frequency from 2,911 to 3,181. However, reflecting the continuing competition between the major carriers, passenger numbers didn’t keep pace with additional capacity, with a twoper cent in domestic passengers recorded, up 332,000 passengers to 16.84 million.
Illustrating the impact the resources industry is having on demand, there was a 20 per cent increase in intrastate flights, including Virgin Australia introducing three new routes between Brisbane and Mount Isa, Moranbah and Bundaberg. In terms of passenger volumes, the BNE-Gladstone route was the fastest growing, with an additional 107,000 passengers flying between the two cities.
Looking forward, Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO, said FY14 will see further capacity growth flagged by domestic and international carriers, including the launch of Garuda’s Denpasar services in August and Emirates’ upgrade from 777-300ER aircraft to A380s from 2 October.
“The growth highlights the importance of providing additional runway capacity for airline partners,” Alroe said. “Brisbane Airport’s new parallel runway will provide the infrastructure to service the needs of the travelling public for many decades to come. “