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Adelaide becomes latest airport to break pre-pandemic records

written by Jake Nelson | April 18, 2024

Qantas and Jetstar aircraft at Adelaide Airport’s terminal. (Image: Adelaide Airport)

Another Australian airport has surpassed pre-COVID passenger figures, with Adelaide chalking up a new record for the March quarter.

Adelaide Airport saw 2,123,000 passengers between January and March 2024, an increase of 9.6 per cent on the same time last year, and roughly a two per cent increase on the 2,081,000 passengers in the third quarter of the 2019 financial year.

In a statement, the airport said strong travel demand in the quarter was helped by boosts in both domestic and international capacity.

“Domestically, 1.9 million passengers were welcomed through the airport, creating new records for the quarter. Travel between Adelaide’s largest city pairs of Melbourne and Sydney was very strong (aided by the Taylor Swift effect) and the leisure sector routes of Hobart, Gold Coast and Cairns also performed well,” the statement read.

“International traffic of nearly a quarter of a million passengers was significantly higher than the COVID-impacted March quarter the prior year. Against the same quarter in FY19, overall international passenger volumes reached 90% of prior levels with outbound international travel reaching new highs.


“The key drivers of international capacity were seasonal frequencies from Singapore Airlines over the peak January period, a 71 seat per flight up-gauge from Qatar Airways back to the B777 aircraft in March, and Jetstar’s utilisation of their 25 per cent larger Airbus A321neo aircraft for Bali services.”

Adelaide’s return to pre-COVID figures follows Hobart Airport’s announcement this month that it has also exceeded Q3 FY19 passenger figures in the March quarter of this year. While Perth recently recorded its best-ever January, those numbers were fuelled by a boom in FIFO and regional travel.

Data from the Department of Transport shows Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are still falling below pre-pandemic levels, though Melbourne did set a new February record for international passengers.

Adelaide Airport in November announced it would pour $1 billion in capital investment into upgrades over the next five years, including $500 million on major aviation infrastructure projects, with the goal of becoming “a destination in its own right”.

The airport, which recently finished a $200 million terminal expansion, will also see the return of regular daily Emirates services in October.

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