Passenger traffic through Adelaide Airport continued to grow in the past year, albeit at a slower pace than previous years.
Overall, Adelaide Airport handled 7.84 million travellers in 2014/15, up 1.8 per cent from 7.7 million in the prior year.
The recent withdrawal from the Adelaide-Kuala Lumpur route of AirAsia X, and “a flat global economy” have been blamed by Adelaide Airport Ltd (AAL) for the slowing of its past rapid expansion.
“We’ve been the fastest growing capital city airport for the past four to five years,” chief executive Mark Young said.
Despite the increase being limited to 1.8 per cent in the past financial year, compared with five per cent growth in 2013/14, passenger numbers have almost doubled from the four million recorded when AAL took over the airport from the Commonwealth in 1998.
The biggest improver has been international passenger traffic, which rose to 935,500 in the 12 months to June 30 2015, from 908,000 in 2013-14, and was forecast to reach 1.5 million by 2019. By way of further comparison, Adelaide Airport handled 258,000 international passengers when AAL acquired the airport in 1998.
To counter the slower growth, the company is pressing ahead with its campaign to entice new entrants to the Adelaide market.
“We continue to talk with international airlines to attract more services to more destinations,” Young said, adding. direct links to China and the United States were the main targets.
Domestic traffic moved ahead 2.3 per cent to 6.36 million in 2014/15, largely on increased capacity by Qantas and Virgin.
However, regional passenger numbers fell from 575,000 to 550,000, reflecting cut-backs in mineral exploration and development in South Australia.
Among AAL’s expansion projects is the proposal for a 200-room hotel near the airport terminal.
The company defined a site in its 30-year plan last October and Young said negotiations with prospective developers were in the midst of a “competitive selection process”, with hopes for choosing a successful bidder by the end of the year.