International travel boosts BNE’s passenger numbers in 2018

BUSINESS_Brisbane Airport (Photog Jen Dainer)_823

Thursday 24 January 2019: International passengers through Brisbane Airport (BNE) continue to rise, with new airlines, increased flights to/from several global destinations and additional international seats all contributing to a 4.8 per cent year-on-year growth in 2018.

International traveller numbers grew by more than 277,000 to more than 6 million passengers for the calendar year, with a 5.5 per cent year-on-year increase in international seats recorded (+435,530 seats).

Domestic passenger volumes increased modestly by 0.7 per cent to more than 17.5 million.

In total, BNE’s passenger numbers – domestic and international – grew by 1.7 per cent to more than 23.6 million.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Chief Executive Officer, said with the opening of Brisbane’s new runway in just 18 months’ time the focus was firmly on expanding and developing world-class airport facilities to meet forecast passenger demand.

“The city is evolving before our very eyes with billions of dollars-worth of investment in infrastructure projects currently underway, including our new runway, a vibrant arts and major events sector, direct access to some of Australia’s greatest natural assets and a reputation for being a safe and friendly destination.

“This all contributes to boosting Brisbane’s international profile, attracting more visitors, new airlines, and additional services and new destinations, truly cementing our position as Australia’s future international gateway,” Mr de Graaff said.

“It’s not all about South East Queensland, aviation growth in Brisbane brings benefits for regional Queensland and we remain committed to establishing improved connectivity between the city and other centres in Queensland, driving the visitor economy throughout the state.

“We aim to achieve this through continued collaboration and the collective strength of government, tourism and industry partners to promote the diverse offerings of Queensland to visitors and further the growth in arrivals,” Mr de Graaff said.

Highlights for 2018 include:

  • Feb - Jetstar BNE-Denpasar services going daily.
  • Jun - Malaysia Airlines launching four times weekly non-stop flights between BNE and Kuala Lumpur.
  • Jun - Virgin Australia launching a twice-weekly services between BNE and Alice Springs.
  • Jul - Philippine Airlines de-tagging from Darwin to operate four times weekly non-stop Manila-BNE services on an A321neo, nearly doubling seat capacity from 38,000 to 70,000.
  • Aug - Jetstar launching three times weekly service between BNE and Uluru.
  • Aug - Fly Corporate launching services between BNE and Dubbo six days a week and eight weekly services between BNE and Wollongong (Nov).
  • Nov - Samoa Airways commencing a twice-weekly service between Apia and BNE.
  • Dec - Air New Zealand launching a four times weekly services between BNE and Queenstown and up to five weekly services between BNE and Wellington.


International Review

BNE started 2018 with 26 international airline partners, finishing with 28, with Malaysia Airlines re-launching four weekly non-stop flights between BNE and Kuala Lumpur in June and Samoa Airways commencing twice weekly services between BNE and Apia in November.

BNE’s busiest day for international passengers was 22 December with a record 22,689 arrivals and departures in a 24 hour period.

August had the greatest passenger growth with more than 40,000 additional passengers travelling through the International Terminal compared to August 2017.

China including Hong Kong (+12.6 per cent), India (+17.8 per cent) and Malaysia (+53.9 per cent) made up the top three international growth markets.

Strong growth over Chinese New Year through to Hainan Airlines’ first anniversary of its Shenzhen service contributed to an additional 51,400 passengers in the China (including Hong Kong) market.

The United Kingdom (+5.2 per cent) also recording a strong year-on-year growth, with the Commonwealth Games driving an additional 14,700 passengers through BNE.


Domestic Review

Domestic passenger volumes grew by 0.7 per cent to more than 17.5 million, or 116,778 more travellers than 2017.

BNE started the year with nine domestic airline partners and ended the year with eight with JetGo entering into voluntary administration in June.

September school holidays were a catalyst for travel with 60,991 arrivals and departures on 28 September, making it the busiest day of the year at the Domestic Terminal.

The month with the greatest passenger growth was February, with 49,964 additional travellers compared to February 2017.

Domestic passenger growth was driven by increased travel on the ‘golden triangle city pairs’, with strong year-on-year growth for Sydney (+1.7 per cent or 83,200 more passengers), Melbourne (+2.2 per cent or 76,700 more passengers) and Canberra (+8.4 per cent or 50,400 more passengers).

Overall interstate city pairs load factor improved by 1.1 percentage points to 81.3 per cent – the highest since 2011 (80.8 per cent), with average load factor exceeding 80 per cent on the Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin city pairs.

Townsville and Mackay were the strongest performing intrastate city pairs, with Townsville back to 2012 peak levels following a 2.7 per cent year-on-year growth (+26,200 passengers) and Mackay recording a 6.4 per cent year-on-year growth (+45,310 passengers).


Brisbane Airport Traffic performance – 2018 calendar year*




Year-on-year growth

International arrivals and departures








Total international passengers




Domestic arrivals and departures




Total passengers




*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 on the basis of 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.


BAC/BNE’s other notable achievements for 2018 include:

  • Co-hosting Routes Asia in March, bringing together more than 1000 airline, airport and tourism delegates from 100 countries to Brisbane.
  • The opening of the $135 million expansion of the northern International Terminal and apron in April, providing an additional 11,000 square metres of space including new arriving and departing passenger zones, two new walk-out gates and four new aerobridges.
  • Retaining a ‘good’ rating for overall quality of service in the annual Airport Monitoring Report conducted by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for the fourteenth year in a row.
  • Creating Australia’s first airport gigabit precinct with 250km of new state-of-the-art full fibre infrastructure installed across the precinct.
  • Completion and opening of the Dryandra Road underpass in September, a crucial link between the new runway system due for completion in mid-2020 and the existing system and terminals.
  • The opening of the $18 million Skygate Home & Life centre in November, adding an additional 9,260 square metres of retail space to the precinct.

In 2019, BNE looks forward to:

  • Strong international passenger growth driven by new carriers and routes, including Royal Brunei relaunching its service to Bandar Seri Begawan in June 2019.
  • Brisbane hosting the 145th International Air Transport Association (IATA) Slot Conference in November, bringing together more than 1200 delegates from more than 230 airlines across the world.
  • Major events in the Brisbane catchment area, including Australia v Sri Lanka Day-Night Test at The ‘Gabba in January, CMC Rocks Qld in March, the NRL Magic Round in May, State of Origin Game 1 in June, and concerts including Maroon 5, Eminem, Post Malone and Shawn Mendes.
  • New retail offerings within the Domestic Terminal as part of the $40 million redevelopment.

“The year ahead is an exciting and busy time for us, with Brisbane’s new runway entering its final construction stage and the finishing touches set to go on to the airfield,” Mr de Graaff said.

“It will be business as usual for passengers moving through the terminals, but they can expect to see extensive works and upgrades happening across the Domestic Terminal, with new retail offering and upgraded amenities opening throughout the year.

“It is more crucial than ever before that we continue collaborating and innovating with our airline, industry and business partners in growing BNE’s profile as the preferred gateway to Queensland and Australia,” he said.