Record-breaking year for passengers at Brisbane Airport

HERO_Brisbane Airport (Photog Jen Dainer)_805

Wednesday 22 January 2020: Passenger numbers at Brisbane Airport (BNE) exceeded 24.1 million for the first time, with Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) recording the strongest international and domestic growth amongst Australia’s major gateway airports in 2019.

International traveller numbers grew by 266,182 to more than 6.3 million passengers for the calendar year, with a 2.2 per cent year-on-year increase in international seats recorded (+180,700 seats).

Domestic passenger volumes increased by 1.3 per cent to more than 17.7 million.

In total, BNE’s passenger numbers – domestic and international – grew by 2.1 per cent to more than 24.1 million.

Gert-Jan de Graaff, Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) Chief Executive Officer, said the record number of passengers using Brisbane Airport translates to record visitor expenditure in Brisbane.

“Brisbane as we know it is evolving and going from strength to strength thanks to a number of major infrastructure projects currently underway.

“With Brisbane Airport recording the strongest passenger growth amongst Australia’s major gateway airports, it is clear the rest of the world is taking notice of our great city and region and all it has to offer,” Mr de Graaff said.

“The growth in visitor numbers is good news for our city, with the latest International and National Visitor Surveys conducted by Tourism Research Australia showing record expenditure occurring in Brisbane by both domestic and international visitors.

“It is through the collaboration and the collective strength of government, tourism and industry partners in promoting the unique and world-class offerings of Queensland that we continue to see visitor arrivals rise,” Mr de Graaff said.

Highlights for 2019 include:

  • Thai AirAsia X launching a three times a week service between BNE and Bangkok (Jun).
  • Singapore Airlines up grading to two-class A359s on two out of four daily BNE services (Mar).
  • Solomon Airlines commencing a weekly direct service to Munda (Apr).
  • Royal Brunei commencing a four times weekly service between BNE and Bandar Seri Begawan (Jul).
  • EVA Air introducing Boeing 787-10 on Taipei-BNE service (Oct).
  • Thai AirAsia X up grading three times a week service between BNE and Bangkok with A330-900neo (Nov).


International Review

BNE finished 2019 with 29 international airline partners, with Thai AirAsia X launching Bangkok services in late June and Royal Brunei Airlines commencing Bandar Seri Begawan flights in July.

BNE’s busiest day for international passengers was on 21 December, with a record 23,063 arrivals and departures in a 24-hour period.

November had the greatest passenger growth with 41,991 additional passengers travelling through the International Terminal compared to November 2018.

New Zealand, China (including Hong Kong), and the United States (USA) were the top three international growth markets by volume. Overall direct seat capacity contributed to an additional 36,000 New Zealand passengers, and despite slower growth than previous years, there were an additional 20,800 Chinese passengers.

The United States of America visitor market (+10.5 per cent) also recorded strong year-on-year growth despite a reduction in direct seat capacity, with an additional 17,700 passengers recorded in 2019.

Capacity increases by both non-stop carriers contributed to growth in the Taiwan visitor market, returning to double digits (+10 per cent and an additional 13,500 passengers).


Domestic Review

Despite a sluggish market nationally and an unchanged network of eight airlines and 51 destinations, BNE recorded its strongest domestic growth since 2016 and the strongest domestic growth of the four major Australian airports in 2019.

Domestic passenger volumes grew by 1.3 per cent to more than 17.7 million, or 227,800 more travellers than 2018.

A record-breaking 63,525 arrivals and departures were recorded on 4 October, making it the busiest day of the year at the Domestic Terminal.

The month with the greatest passenger growth was April, with 65,738 additional travellers compared to April 2018.

Domestic passenger growth was largely driven by interstate city pairs. Canberra and Adelaide grew faster than the ‘golden triangle city pairs’, with Canberra recording a 3.5 per cent year-on-year growth (+22,800) and Adelaide recording a 3.1 per cent year-on-year growth (+26,000 passengers).

Traffic on Western Australian routes increased for the first time in five years, with capacity reductions tapering off.

Intrastate seat capacity grew for the first time in six years, with Mackay, Cairns and Townsville gaining the most supply.

Rockhampton and Mackay were the strongest performing intrastate city pairs, with Rockhampton recording a 4.8 per cent year-on-year growth (+24,600 passengers) and Mackay recording a 4.3 per cent year-on-year growth (+31,600 passengers).

A milestone was reached on the Townsville-BNE route, reaching more than one million passengers in a 12-month period for the first time, equating to a 2.8 per cent year-on-year growth (+28,100 passengers).

Brisbane Airport Traffic performance – 2019 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 2019 include:

  • Entering into three-year, multi-million-dollar partnership with Brisbane Marketing to boost recognition of Brand Brisbane to international audiences.
  • 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 fifteenth year in a row.
  • Overall winner at the Routes Asia 2019 Marketing Awards.
  • Voted Best Airport in Australia/Pacific in the Skytrax global awards and increased its position to 18th in the World’s Top 100 list.
  • Preliminary draft Brisbane Airport Master Plan released for public consultation.
  • The innovative MyLounge opened at the International Terminal.
  • Named Oceania’s Leading Airport in the 26th Annual World Travel Awards.
  • Named Capital City Airport of the Year 2019 at the Australian Airports Association National Airport Industry Awards.
  • Receiving an Innovation and Excellence Award for Community Engagement at the 2019 Australian Airports Association National Airport Industry Awards.
  • Opening of a new International food precinct, upgraded restrooms and a number of new specialty retails as part of the Domestic Terminal $40 million redevelopment.

In 2020, BNE looks forward to:

  • The opening of Brisbane’s new runway mid-2020, doubling BNE’s capacity.
  • Strong international growth driven by new routes, including Virgin Australia launching a daily direct service to Haneda and Qantas launching a four times weekly service to Chicago and three times weekly service to San Francisco.
  • Major events in the Brisbane catchment area, including the ICC T20 World Cup, BrisAsia Festival, Bigsound 2020, the NRL Magic Round in May, and concerts including Elton John, Iron Maiden and the Backstreet Boys concert.
  • Completion of the Domestic Terminal’s $40 million redevelopment.

“This year is without a doubt the biggest in BAC’s history, with the practical completion of Brisbane’s new runway following eight years of construction,” Mr de Graaff said.

“The opportunities this will enable for Brisbane and for Queensland cannot be understated, and we will work harder than ever to secure new airlines, additional services and new destinations while building Brisbane as the nation’s gateway.”