FY20 passenger numbers at BNE plummet due to COVID19

Brisbane International Departures

Tuesday 21 July 2020: The stark impact of COVID on the aviation industry is clearly evident with Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) achieving a record increase in passenger numbers in the first seven months of the FY, followed by unprecedented declines in the last five months of the year.

Despite the promising opening to the year, overall passenger numbers at Brisbane Airport (BNE) decreased by 24.5 per cent year-on-year to a total of just under 17.9 million, with the novel coronavirus global pandemic bringing the aviation industry to a near standstill.

Strong international passenger growth in the first seven months of FY20 was halted when government-imposed restrictions came into effect from March 2020, resulting in a year end 25 per cent drop in international travellers to a total of 4.6 million through BNE.

Similarly, strong domestic growth throughout the first seven months of FY20 ended with state border closures from March 2020 onwards and a resulting 95 percent drop in passengers by April to a total of 13.2 million in FY2020.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Chief Executive Officer, said, “What was to be an historic and momentous year for Brisbane Airport with the opening of our new runway became a year we will never forget for quite different reasons.

“The impact has been very significant for airports as well as for airlines and the millions of people whose livelihoods are reliant on the services provided by the aviation industry.

“While we are seeing a glimmer of hope with slowly growing schedules and passengers, full recovery to pre-COVID passenger numbers will take many, many years.

“While COVID continues to present much uncertainty in terms of border closures and travel restrictions, there is one thing I am certain of, the resilience of the aviation industry, and the adaptability of our team.

“Throughout the COVID crisis, the BAC team has met all challenges with courage, care, collaboration and creativity.

“We have kept the lights on and our airfield fully operational during the darkest of days, ensuring essential health, repatriation and freight flights could continue.

“We have supported our existing airline partners and facilitated others we do not usually see at BNE, including Egyptair, Nepal Airlines, Omni Air and South African Airways to repatriate travellers, as well as welcoming Qatar Airways.

“I am incredibly proud of how the BNE team, including our business partners and suppliers, has responded during these extraordinary times keeping operations going and passengers and staff safe.

“With the recent opening of our new runway giving us the most efficient runway system in Australia, Brisbane Airport is without a doubt the most important driver and catalyst for the city and state as we move together towards industry and economic recovery,” Mr de Graaff said.

International Review

The top growth markets for Brisbane during the first seven months of FY20 were Taiwan (+13.4%), China & Hong Kong (+11.3%), USA (+8.7%) and New Zealand (+4.5%).

The busiest day at the International Terminal was on 5 January 2020, with a record high of 24,412 passengers. On 4 May, 11 May, 15 June and 29 June, no passengers arrived at or departed from the International Terminal.

The greatest monthly passenger growth was experienced in November 2019 with 41,991 additional international travellers.

In July 2019, Royal Brunei Airlines commenced services between BNE and Banda Seri Begawan, with Qantas launching flights to/from San Francisco in February.

Post March 2020, the main nationality groups at BNE included New Zealand (16.5%), UK (8.8%), South Korea (7.2%), Germany (7.1%) and Taiwan (5.0%).

Between April and June 2020, there were an average of 32 weekly scheduled flights, down from 699 between July and December 2019.

Domestic review

The busiest day at the Domestic Terminal was on 4 October 2019, with a record high of 63,525 arrivals and departures. At the height of border closures and travel restrictions, the Domestic Terminal recorded its quietest day with only 31 passengers on 12 April 2020.

The month with the greatest passenger growth was January 2020, with an additional 63,929 passengers compared to January 2019.

The full year decline in intrastate pax was smaller than the decline in interstate pax due to the continuation of FIFO travel and the lifting of intrastate travel restrictions in June 2020.

Passenger volumes in intrastate routes eclipsed passenger volumes between BNE and NSW ports for the first time since 2016.

Brisbane Airport Traffic Performance – FY20




Year-on-year growth

International arrivals and departures








Total international passengers *




Domestic arrivals and departures




Total passengers




*Excludes transits and transfers

The information contained in this document is for information purposes only. Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Ltd (BAC) provides no warranty as to the content or accuracy of the information provided or for the consequences of any actions taken based on the information provided. BAC does not accept liability for any errors or omissions in the contents of this document or for any loss of profit or other damages resulting from the use of this information.