While international traffic in to and out of Australia continues to grow, the nation’s three major eastern states airports all posted declines in the number of domestic air travellers in January.
Brisbane, Melbourne Tullamarine and Sydney airports all had fewer domestic passengers in January compared with the same month a year earlier.
Domestic travellers fell 1.7 per cent at Sydney Airport in January, its first monthly decline since March 2014.
“The domestic market continues to see capacity discipline as airlines focused on yield,” Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said in a statement on Friday.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Airport domestic passengers fell 0.3 per cent in January and were down 2.7 per cent at Brisbane Airport.
Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said on Thursday the goings on in Canberra had played a role in keeping the consumer sentiment subdued and overall demand sluggish.
“The leisure part of the market is the difficult one,” Borghetti said at Virgin’s first half results presentation on Thursday.
“Certainly some of the issues that are around Canberra play a part in that.
“You can throw that in where you like – well it’s government stability, or you can say well, you know it’s the Senate or it’s the independents but it doesn’t really matter because in the end it affects sentiment.”
The story was better on the international front, with the three airports increasing the number of passengers travelling into and out of Australia.
Sydney Airport said extra capacity and growing load factors helped push the number of international travellers through the airport up 1.4 per cent in January.
Melbourne Airport reported a 5.1 increase in international passengers, while Brisbane Airport posted 8.1 per cent international growth in the month.