Melbourne Airport has closed the gap with Sydney Airport in terms of total passenger traffic thanks to strong growth in international travellers during 2014.
Sydney Airport maintained its position as the largest Australian airport in terms of passengers, with 38.5 million travellers passing through its domestic and international terminals in calendar 2014.
Melbourne had 6.768 million fewer passengers in 2014 at 31.728 million.
However, Tullamarine reduced the deficit from 7.252 million the prior year thanks, in part, to eight per cent growth in international passengers, compared with 2.8 per cent at Kingsford-Smith.
Melbourne Airport chief executive Chris Woodruff noted the increase in Japanese passport holders to the Victorian capital thanks to new flights from Jetstar.
“Japan was the stand out in terms of growth in 2014, recording an impressive 53 per cent increase,” Woodruff said in a statement.
“It follows the introduction of new direct Melbourne-Japan services and is a great example of how travellers will take advantage of more convenient flights.
“In 2014, we also continued to work closely with our airline customers with more direct flights and capacity introduced for Victorians and visitors.”
Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said Chinese visitors were the airport’s “fastest and most consistently growing market” with 16.4 per cent growth in 2014.
“Growth in Chinese travellers through Sydney Airport accounted for 50 per cent of foreign nationality growth,” Mather said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Airport reported a 1.9 per cent increase in total passengers to 22.254 million in 2014. International travellers rose 5.5 per cent to 5.175 million, which was the fastest annual growth rate since 2005.
Brisbane Airport chief executive Julieanne Alroe said 18 international airlines either added frequencies or upgauged to larger aircraft in 2014.
“Major events hosted in Brisbane, Queensland and abroad including the G20, Australian Tourism Exchange in Cairns, FIFA World Cup in Rio and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow all contributed to increased passengers through BNE,” Alroe said in a statement.
“We look forward to an equally busy 2015 and working with our airline, industry and business partners in attracting more flights to the city so we can continue to grow Brisbane and Queensland’s profile as a major gateway to Australia and an exciting and progressive city and state.”