Hip hop hooray – it’s a 20k day!

BNE Hip Hop Hooray Final

Friday 22 December will be the first day since the pandemic that Brisbane Airport’s International Terminal will see 20,000 passengers in a single day. 

Hip Hop Santa performers will greet passengers as they arrive at the airport, just in time for Christmas. 

The milestone signifies a resilient stride forward for the airport and Queensland’s tourism industry, showcasing a steadfast return to normal after a time of unprecedented disruption. 

Brisbane Airport went from a record 24,641 passengers on 5 January 2020, to zero passengers only four months later on 4 May 2020. 

What took 4 months to wind down has taken almost 4 years to rebuild back to the 20,000 milestone. 

During the pandemic there were 53 days with less than 100 passengers passing through the International Terminal and 13 days with zero passengers. 

“On those days when there were zero passengers in this terminal it was like the world truly was on pause. Today it’s alive with visitors arriving to experience Queensland and Aussies heading off to tick off their bucket lists,” according to Brisbane Airport CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff

The International Terminal will see three days of 20,000+ passengers on Friday 22 December, Saturday 6 January and Sunday 7 January.   

International Forecast Top 5 days  




Total Passengers 

Saturday, 6 January 2024 


Friday, 22 December 2023 


Sunday, 7 January 2024 


Saturday, 23 December 2023 


Friday, 5 January 2024 



DSC01825Across the entire school holiday period, Brisbane Airport is forecasting over 1 million international passengers and 88% restoration of pre-COVID passengers. 

“As for when our international capacity will exceed 100% pre-Covid capacity, for Brisbane we see that occurring consistently from November 2024, which will mark a 5-year road back to full recovery.”   

The past month has seen numerous airlines add international capacity to their Brisbane schedule, including the return of daily flights from China Eastern Airlines and China Southern Airlines. Jetstar has commenced Brisbane to Tokyo (Narita) services and will shortly add flights from Brisbane to Osaka and Brisbane to Seoul (Incheon). 

“Jetstar’s growing Brisbane network is adding thousands of cheap flights into the market at a time we know every dollar counts. A valuable holiday experience begins with a good value flight.” 

Assisting with the surge over the Christmas period, Brisbane Airport will temporarily provide 10 additional check-in counters. This pop-up facility provides the equivalent of an extra row of check-in service desks.  Temp check-in team desks

The pop-up facility is not physically connected to the baggage system, so staff from OACIS will be operating as a “human baggage belt” to manually move luggage from the pop-up facility to the bag injection point.   

“OACIS is delighted to be partnering with Brisbane Airport, helping to create a smooth and stress-free travel experience for customers during the very busy holiday period,” according to Matthew Lee, CEO of OACIS.  

After the Christmas - New Year rush subsides, the pop-up facility will offset temporary closures while further upgrades to older check-in rows are undertaken. The introduction of more self-service check-in processing and a full refresh of the existing hall will provide much needed capacity whilst delivering a more streamlined, efficient, and enhanced passenger journey.  Temp check-in team horizontal

“This is just one of 150+ projects which make up Future BNE $5 billion transformation of the airport precinct.”  

Passengers can now purchase direct flights to 29 International destinations* from Brisbane, closing in on the 33 prior to the pandemic. (*includes direct flights to Osaka which commence in Feb 2024.) 

“Where will the 30th destination be? We look forward to the continued strategic rebuilding of our network in 2024. With 75% of overseas visitors to Queensland arriving through BNE, we know this is the State’s critical tourism and transport hub.”  

“Brisbane is Australia’s most connected hub for the South West Pacific, flying to 13 locations. We are also Australia’s most connected domestic airport with routes to 61 locations, with half of them in Queensland.” 

For more information contact Brisbane Airport’s 24/7 on-call media hotline: 0466 322 485 

Images available for download here