Record flyers point to recovery as Brisbane Airport hits 4% growth

More than one million passengers flew through Brisbane Airport’s domestic terminal in February - a record month that capped an overall 4.2% growth* in total passenger numbers compared to the same time in 2009.

The figures point to a stronger year ahead, helped by new international services and the addition of Tiger Airways to the Brisbane Airport domestic offering.The 4.9% increase* in domestic passengers in February comes on top of more than 300,000 flyers using the new International Terminal, a 2.2% increase on 2009*.

Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited CEO and Managing Director, Julieanne Alroe, said the figures were the strongest indication yet that the industry is emerging from arguably its most challenging period in history.

“It has been an extremely difficult year for aviation globally, so it is very reassuring to see positive signs of growth in our passenger numbers, indicating a return to a sense of stability in our economic climate,” Ms Alroe said.

“Around the middle of the month, international traffic was boosted by visitor arrivals for Chinese New Year, with several charter services operating to cater for the additional demand. Chinese and Hong Kong visitor arrivals were each up 21% on the previous February. Other markets growing significantly over the month included Australian resident departures (up 7%), and visitors from America (+13%), India (+9%) and Singapore (+32%).

“We suspect that domestic passenger growth was driven by Australians celebrating the Reserve Bank’s decision not to lift mortgage interest rates in February, following rises in October, November and December.”

In March, Brisbane Airport will see further growth in passenger numbers, with Tiger Airways launching flights to Melbourne, Rockhampton and Adelaide from Brisbane and Philippine Airlines starting services to Manila mid month.

QantasLink is the latest airline to announce growth in capacity at Brisbane, after taking delivery of new Q400 aircraft. From April 2010, additional frequencies and/or seats will be offered between Brisbane and Bundaberg, Emerald, Gladstone, Mackay and Rockhampton.

“Overall we are pleased with the growth we have recently experienced in passenger numbers, and the exciting increase in new airlines and services. We would like to thank our airlines and industry partners for their continuing support of Brisbane Airport,” Ms Alroe said.

*including transits and transfers