International capacity at Melbourne Airport surpasses pre-pandemic levels

International capacity at Melbourne Airport surpasses pre-pandemic levels

Photo credit: Melbourne Airport (via Facebook).

Melbourne Airport has become the first capital city airport in Australia to return to 100 per cent of pre-pandemic international capacity, as well as exceeding numbers previously reached.

This month more than 1.31 million seats will be available for international travellers to and from Melbourne Airport, which represents 101 per cent of the 1.29 million seats available in 2019.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said the international milestone was a culmination of years of hard work by everyone at the airport.

“COVID tested the fabric of every business and it’s a credit to the team here that two years after the Australian border re-opened, we are the nation’s first airport to exceed pre-pandemic international capacity,” she said.

“This result was only made possible because of our close partnership with the Victorian government, and I’d like to thank them for the support they’ve provided to attract more airlines and aviation activity to Melbourne.”

The news comes at the same time New Caledonia airline Aircalin announced it will resume its services at the airport for the first time in three-plus years, with the carrier reopening routes between Melbourne and Noumea.

Aircalin will operate three flights per week on a new Airbus A320Neo, with the ability to connect to the islands of Lifou, Isle of Pines or Ouvea on the same ticket.

“The return of Aircalin means we are back to our pre-pandemic level of 36 international airlines flying to Melbourne Airport, and we look forward to adding to that number in the not-too-distant future,” Argus added.

“There is a huge demand for flights to tropical holiday destinations and given New Caledonia’s proximity, we expect these services will be very popular with Victorians.

“Pleasingly, approximately 10 per cent of our current international capacity is being operated by new airlines or on new routes, which means consumers and exporters have more choice about when and where to fly.”

Argus added the increased capacity may help reduce airfare prices.

“We know cost of living pressures are being felt by our passengers and the broader increase in capacity across our international network will assist in putting downward pressure on airfares,” she said.  

“There is still latent demand in the market, and we believe a liberalising of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements with a move towards open skies policies would give airlines the certainty to expand operations into Melbourne.”

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