BNE Achieves Largest International Passenger Growth in a Decade

Tails at Brisbane International Terminal
Tails at Brisbane International Terminal

International passengers through Brisbane Airport (BNE) grew by nearly 364,300 to more than 5.6 million in FY17, representing a 7 per cent increase on FY16, the greatest growth for BNE in a decade.

Overall passenger numbers, including domestic traffic, saw an increase of nearly 2 per cent year-on-year, to more than 22.8 million travellers for the financial year.

Domestic traffic, while heavily impacted by Cyclone Debbie and capacity consolidation, grew modestly off the back of a number of major events drawing visitors to Brisbane.

An additional 42,500 passengers took BNE’s domestic traffic to more than 17.2 million in FY17, a 0.2 per cent increase on FY16.

Julieanne Alroe, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) CEO and Managing Director, said with the domestic travel market holding steady, it is encouraging to see strong international passenger growth.

“The real gains this year have been made through the increase in international travel which has been stimulated by a 7.9 per cent boost in overseas flights, two new destinations and the addition of more than 425,700 seats to and from Brisbane in FY17.

“The addition of China Eastern flights between BNE and Shanghai, new Malindo Air Kuala-Lumpur–Denpasar-Brisbane flights, and consistently high loads have contributed to this great result.

“Major events like Wallabies v South Africa and State of Origin matches in BNE, the Gold Coast Marathon and the Battle of Brisbane drew significant crowds to Brisbane from both domestic and international markets.

“The number of domestic destinations on offer also increased from 44 to 50 in FY17, making BNE the most domestically connected airport in Australia,” Ms Alroe said.

Looking forward, BAC expects the strong international passenger growth to continue with:

  • Singapore Airlines increasing flights to/from Singapore to four daily (Aug 17)
  • Hainan Airlines launching flights between BNE and Shenzhen (Sept 17)
  • Emirates increasing flights to/from Dubai from two to three daily (Nov 17)
  • China Airlines increasing flights on the Taipei-BNE-Auckland route from five weekly to daily (Nov 17)
  • Cathay Pacific going non-stop between Hong-Kong and BNE on all 11 flights per week (Nov 17-Mar 18).

International Review

The top growth markets for Brisbane in FY17 were Canada (+97 per cent), Taiwan (+31 per cent), the United Kingdom incl. Ireland (+7 per cent) and Japan (+13 per cent).

Air Canada’s launch of daily Vancouver-BNE services was the key driver of growth for the Canadian visitor market, which became one of BNE’s top 10 visitor markets for the first time.

Additional direct capacity to/from Taipei (China Airlines and EVA Air) from October 2016 was the key driver of Taiwanese visitor growth of 43.6 per cent between October 2016 and June 2017 as compared to the prior year. The Taiwanese visitor market is expected to grow further and rival the Japanese visitor market for the 6th ranking by the end of calendar year 2017.

The UK visitor market growth at BNE far exceeded the overall national growth (+2.3 per cent, year ended May 2017). This growth followed the screening of the documentary ‘Great Barrier Reef with David Attenborough’ in London by Tourism Australia, as well as the aquatic and coastal campaigns in early 2016.

The Japanese visitor market growth at Brisbane Airport in FY17 was in-line with overall national growth (+13.5 per cent, year ended May 2017).  Volumes continued to increase even after the anniversary of the Tokyo service launch (August 2016).

At the start of FY17 BNE was directly connected with 27 international destinations, and 29 by the end of the financial year.

The busiest day at the International Terminal was on 7 January 2017 with a record 20,760 arrivals and departures.

The greatest monthly passenger growth was experienced in April 2017, with 65,813 additional travellers.

Domestic review

During FY17, the number of destinations on offer increased from 44 to 50, with Norfolk Island reclassified as domestic and the addition of Armidale, Narrabri and Moree (Aug 16) and Orange (Feb 17) by Fly Corporate, and Wagga Wagga (Feb 17) by Jetgo.

Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle city pairs were the strongest growth markets by passenger volumes with growth to/from Newcastle (+30,800) only slightly below Melbourne passenger growth (+32,500 pax), driven by additional capacity.

Traffic volumes between BNE and New South Wales (5.39 million) surpassed traffic volumes between regional Queensland and BNE (5.22 million) for the first time since FY11 (a year before the peak of the mining boom), with growth to/from Sydney and Newcastle accounting for 55.5 per cent and 20.8 per cent of overall growth.

Strongest intrastate growth was on the Cairns-BNE city pair, which also ranked fourth amongst all domestic routes. Cairns services achieved the highest load factor (83.1 per cent) amongst the top 10 domestic city pairs.

The busiest day at the Domestic Terminal was on 16 September 2016 with 62,649 arrivals and departures.

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