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Aviation readies for manic Easter – but down on 2019

written by Adam Thorn | March 28, 2024

The Qantas domestic terminal at Brisbane in 2022. (Image: Kgbo/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Australia’s airports and airlines are gearing up for their biggest Easter post-pandemic – but demand is still likely to be lower than 2019.

Brisbane Airport, for example, has revealed that 2 million passengers will travel through its terminals during the holiday period.

For international, the numbers are 32 per cent higher than the same period last year and 2 per cent higher for domestic. However, those figures are still just 91 per cent and 94 per cent of pre-COVID-19 performance, respectively.

It’s a story likely to be reflected across the industry as consumers grapple with high inflation and still expensive ticket prices despite notable gains in recent years.

In total, Brisbane expects 2 million passengers across the entire Easter and autumn school holiday period.


“Trans-Tasman travel has increased, with the number of flights originating from New Zealand rising from 75 this time last year to 87 per week this year,” said the airport.

“This equates to over 18,600 seats available in each direction weekly, marking a 23 per cent increase compared to last year.”

But the biggest growth since Easter 2023 is on routes between Brisbane and Japan.

“This time last year, there were just three services per week to Japan, whereas this Easter, there are 18 departures per week,” the airport added. “The number of passengers will be at 200 per cent of pre-COVID levels, by far the biggest recovery of any market.

“Not only will it mean thousands of Japanese tourists holidaying in South East Queensland, but also lots of Queenslanders enjoying the cherry blossom season.”

Across the country, Qantas and Jetstar are gearing up for almost 4 million customers to travel on their domestic and international networks across almost 36,000 flights.

More than 670,000 are expected to travel over the Easter long weekend alone, a 10 per cent increase from the 2023 Easter holidays.

Finally, Melbourne Airport revealed it’s expecting 1.7 million passengers, representing a 9 per cent increase on the same time last year.

During the 17-day period from 29 March to 14 April alone, the airport is expecting to average an MCG Grand Final crowd of more than 100,000 passengers each day, with the busiest day forecast to be 12 April.

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