Queensland’s continued refusal to open its borders to Sydney caused the latter’s domestic passenger traffic to flatline in September after plunging 70 per cent the previous month.
In a statement to the ASX, the business said it welcomed 98,000 passengers in September, up only slightly from 91,000 in August and down significantly from 276,000 in July.
Queensland opened up to NSW on 10 July but closed to Sydney on 1 August and then to all of NSW and the ACT just a week later. As the NSW-Victoria border shut earlier on 6 July, the figures suggest Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s decision was the crucial cause of the poor figures.
Sydney Airport also revealed it welcomed 34,000 international passengers in September, down slightly from 39,000 in August.
The figures are still down more than 95 per cent from the same period last year.
However, the business signalled numbers could rise after states relaxed border restrictions.
“Throughout October 2020 travel restrictions affecting some of Sydney Airport’s domestic markets were lifted,” the statement said. “Travel restrictions between New South Wales and South Australia and New South Wales and the Northern Territory were lifted on 1 October and on 9 October, respectively.
“Internationally, one-way quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory commenced on 16 October 2020.”
Last week, Australian Aviation reported how Queensland’s decision to reshut its border to NSW bizarrely caused Brisbane to become busier than Sydney by a huge margin.
The knock-on effect of Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s restrictions meant Brisbane clocked up 324,188 total passengers in August versus Sydney’s 129,000.
Significantly, the Queensland capital’s numbers were down only slightly from July (358,537) whereas the NSW capital’s collapsed 60 per cent (from 317,000).
“Brisbane is currently the busiest airport in the nation due to strong intrastate travel and an increase in domestic tourism,” said Australian Airports Association chief executive James Goodwin.
Total nationwide domestic passenger traffic, meanwhile, slumped 40 per cent from 1,455,000 in July to a projected 850,000 in August.
“The slight recovery we thought we’d see in June and July was hampered in August because we lost key traffic to and from Victorian airports, which impacted heavily on the performance of Sydney and Canberra airports,” said Goodwin.