For the first time in its history, Brisbane Airport has registered more than 20 million international and domestic passengers travelling through its facilities in the July to June FY period. The record number of passengers equates to a year-on-year growth of 5.4 percent despite several natural disasters affecting global travel and tourism in recent months.
Separately, domestic travellers accounted for a 6 percent increase overall with international passenger growth seeing a 3.6 percent rise.
Internationally, most traffic continues to travel between Brisbane and New Zealand, while the United States is also a major visitor market and the second most favoured destination for those departing Brisbane. The most significant increase however, saw Chinese visitor numbers rise by 23 percent from the previous year with new direct services being a major contributor.
Domestically, services between Brisbane and Perth were the most in-demand interstate flights (as measured by average load factors) with the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) the most popular intrastate destination. The fastest growing city pairs (as measured by passenger volume) were Brisbane to Melbourne, Mackay, Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.
Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, Julieanne Alroe, said the increase in passenger numbers through the airport more than exceeded expectations especially given the industry as a whole had been greatly impacted by a number of local and global disasters.
“Every airport in the world is connected in some way so snow storms in Europe, earthquakes in Asia or volcanic eruptions in South America can significantly impact the number of people travelling through our airport.
“We’ve had more than our fair share of disasters this year however the strong Aussie dollar has encouraged more people to travel abroad while domestically strong passenger growth was also made possible by the injection of 1.4 million extra seats, with every domestic airline operating at Brisbane ramping up capacity throughout the year.”
Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business, Jan Jarratt, credited the collaborative industry approach for the reinvigoration of domestic and inbound tourism following the cyclones and floods which devastated Queensland earlier this year.
“There’s no doubt the global negative coverage of the destruction caused by these natural events affected traveller confidence and forward bookings,” Ms Jarratt said.
“However the Nothing Beats Queensland campaign has helped buoy business confidence during these tough times by continuing to attract tourists to our state.”
With total passenger numbers through Brisbane Airport expected to reach around 43 million by 2029 the airport is on the cusp of a remarkable period of growth.
Julieanne Alroe said: “BAC is committed to a long-term infrastructure investment program that will ensure we continue to deliver world-class facilities for airport users, while meeting the challenge of future growth.”
The recently opened expansion to the Common User Satellite (mainly used by Jetstar, Tiger Airways, Strategic and regional airlines) has seen: an increase in the number of passenger gate lounges in this area from two to seven; two additional aircraft parking bays, bringing the total to seven; new food and beverage facilities close to the new passenger lounges; new modern and comfortable furniture in waiting areas; improved energy efficiency of the satellite building, and space for airline offices.
The next stages of the Domestic Terminal Upgrade will see a new multi-level car park open, upgrades to the Domestic Terminal road network, and an undercover, elevated walkway built over the roads, enabling people to walk from the roads and car parks to the terminal without having to cross in front of vehicles.
A new nine-level, 5,300 bay multi-level car park, set to open in two stages over the coming months, together with the existing multi-level car park, will bring the total number of bays at the Domestic Terminal to over 9,000.
The cornerstone of the infrastructure program however is the New Parallel Runway which expected to be completed by 2020 with preliminary works due to commence next year.
“The New Parallel Runway will be the first new major runway planned and built in Australia for decades and will be among very few privately built runways in the world.
“Once full capacity of the existing runway is achieved, Brisbane Airport is likely to experience increased congestion on the taxiways and its single runway leading to delays to inbound and outbound aircraft and, potentially, increased circulation of aircraft awaiting landing slots.
“With this in mind, the New Parallel Runway is designed to meet forecast growth, not create it,” Ms Alroe said.
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