Brisbane Airport Corporation has recorded over 24.1 million passengers in 2019, during a year where the airport experienced significant growth across both international and domestic markets.
Brisbane’s recently enhanced International Terminal welcomed some 266,182 additional travellers last year. Over 6.3 million people passed through the airport’s doors in 2019, representing a 2.2% jump in international seats recorded when compared to 2018.
Increased demand for services to Queensland’s gateway was met by airlines upgrading existing aircraft to larger models, while several carriers commenced new services to Brisbane, bolstering traffic at the airport.
Equipment changes note include Singapore Airline’s March 2019 upgrade to new Airbus A350-900s, which replace smaller A330s on two of the carrier’s four daily flights between Singapore and Brisbane.
In October, Taiwanese carrier Eva Air upgrade its Taipei services to Boeing 787-10s, which can transport 342 passengers in two classes – 90 additional people compared to the A330-200s it replaces.
Newly established Thai Air Asia X flights linking Brisbane to Bangkok thrice weekly, as well as Solomon Airlines’ new weekly services to Munda were milestones for the airport – broadening Brisbane’s global reach – while Royal Brunei established services from Brisbane to Bandar Seri Begawan in July.
“With Brisbane Airport recording the strongest passenger growth amongst Australia’s major gateway airports, it is clear the rest of the world is taking notice of our great city and region and all it has to offer,” Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation Chief Executive Officer said, reflecting on the airport’s achievements in 2019.
“The growth in visitor numbers is good news for our city, with the latest International and National Visitor Surveys conducted by Tourism Research Australia showing record expenditure occurring in Brisbane by both domestic and international visitors,” he added.
Eight domestic airlines serve 51 Australian destinations from Brisbane. 4 October clocked in as the airport’s busiest day in 2019 – during which 63,525 arrivals and departures occurred within a 24-hour period.
Flights from Brisbane to Canberra and Adelaide led a city-pair boom that saw a combined 48,800 additional travellers take to the skies. Additionally, Townsville – Brisbane flights recorded their one-millionth annual passenger – a first for the route which represented 2.8% growth.
Internationally, New Zealand, China and the United States were the biggest contributors to Brisbane’s growth, with US services attracting a 10.5% increase on 2018 travellers. While New Zealand recorded an additional 36,000 passengers, growth from China was less buoyant than in previous years, attracting some 20,800 additional people.
In late January, Brisbane Airport said that it is looking forward to strong international growth in 2020, driven by new services, including Virgin Australia’s recently announced flights to Tokyo Haneda and Qantas’ forthcoming launch of Chicago services.
However with China one of the biggest contributors to international traffic, it remains to be seen what long term impacts the Coronavirus outbreak – currently crippling Chinese air travel – will have on Brisbane’s passenger numbers throughout 2020.
Nevertheless, this year will be a significant one for the Airport, which is now fully focused on completing its new runway – scheduled to open mid-year – with de Graaff commenting: “This year is without a doubt the biggest in BAC’s history, with the practical completion of Brisbane’s new runway following eight years of construction.”
“The opportunities this will enable for Brisbane and for Queensland cannot be understated, and we will work harder than ever to secure new airlines, additional services and new destinations while building Brisbane as the nation’s gateway,” he added.
Further construction milestones will be reached later this year when the airport completes a $40 million redevelopment of its domestic terminal, which aims to bring the domestic experience inline with the airport’s world-class international terminal building.