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Sydney April passenger numbers drop 97.5%

written by Adam Thorn | May 20, 2020
AIRBUS A340 600 ETIHAD SYD 0410 RF IMG_3785
An Etihad Airbus A340 600 takes off from Sydney Airport (Rob Finlayson)

Just 92,000 passengers passed through Sydney Airport in April – down from 3.7 million in the same month last year.

After announcing the 97.5 per cent drop, the airport said it expects the downturn in passenger traffic to persist “until government travel restrictions are eased”.

However, there are signs that numbers may have bottomed out. In mid-April, the government announced a $165 million plan to subsidise a domestic network, and a similar plan for international repatriation flights.

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While earlier in May, Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled a three-step plan for all states to resume recreational domestic flying by the end of July.

Figures released to the ASX on Wednesday morning revealed how just 43,000 international, and 49,000 domestic, passengers travelled through Sydney’s terminals in April.

The airport previously handled 2 million in March, 3 million in February and 4 million in January.

To combat the falling numbers, the airport last month acquired $850 million of new two- and three-year bank debt facilities. The airport then said in a statement that, “Given the strength of our balance sheet and liquidity position, at this time we do not see the need to raise equity.”

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In addition, its directors reduced their fees by 20 per cent for the three months commencing 1 April.

Australian Aviation has earlier reported how visitor arrivals in Australia as a whole crashed 60 per cent year-on-year in March, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The highest drop on record came in addition to a 29 per cent slump in residents returning from short trips, defined as those lasting less than a year.

The figures show the effects of Australia’s multiple travel bans, which began with barring Chinese visitors and ended with all non-residents being blocked from entering the country. Those that now arrive must complete two weeks of isolation in a hotel room.

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