Easter bigger than games for Gold Coast Airport

Easter bigger than games for Gold Coast Airport
EASTER appears to have been a bigger tourism event for Gold Coast Airport than the Commonwealth Games if the latest passenger numbers are any guide.

Just under 11,000 extra passenger numbers were recorded by the airport over April, representing a 1.9 per cent increase compared to a year ago.
This is despite the rush of visitors expected into the city for the Commonwealth Games that started on April 4.

While there were 570,104 passenger movements in April, a record for the month, the year-on-year growth was less than half the 5.1 per cent lift recorded in March when an extra 26,200 passengers passed through the airport.

Brisbane Airport appears to have cashed in on the Games by absorbing most of the international visitors heading for the Games with arrivals up 31 per cent year-on-year from April 2 to 4.

UK passengers into Brisbane were up 20.9 per cent to 34,500 while Indian passengers rose 14.7 per cent to 8900.

However, Brisbane Airport says domestic passenger movements during the Games remained steady with no significant spikes noted during April.

Gold Coast Airport CEO Chris Mills, in an upbeat assessment of the data, says the April figures into the Gold Coast were skewed by an early Easter which fell in March this year.

Mills still describes the Commonwealth Games as a boon for the airport.

"Our busiest day during the Games period was the last day of competition, April 15, when 23,048 passengers travelled through the airport," he says.

This was still shy of the all-time record of 24,585 passengers recorded in January this year.

"We did not have a clear expectation of passenger numbers beforehand, as it was difficult to predict with a high degree of accuracy it was not a 'normal' month," Mills says of the April data.

"However, we did expect numbers to be up on prior year, and that was achieved."

The 1.9 per cent gain in April compares marks the seventh straight month of growth for the airport and follows a 4.2 per cent increase in January and 3 per cent lift in February.

April saw a spike in New Zealanders visiting the Coast, which could be linked to the Commonwealth Games. Kiwi numbers to the Coast were up 9.8 per cent in March and 6.8 per cent in April.

"We are also seeing international visitors combine a visit to the Gold Coast and New Zealand in one holiday which is influencing strong numbers on these routes," says Mr Mills.

Gold Coast Airport, which attracted 6.5 million passengers in 2017, is poised to begin the next phase of its $300 million redevelopment plan later this year. The work will include a doubling of the existing size of the terminal.

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