Melbourne Airport passenger numbers reach 90pc of pre-COVID levels

Melbourne Airport passenger numbers reach 90pc of pre-COVID levels

Photo courtesy of Melbourne Airport, via Facebook.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus is "pleased" with the travel recovery afoot after international and domestic traveller numbers were at more than 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels in June, while the combined 19,038 passenger and cargo flight movements surpassed the 2019 monthly figure for the first time.

A total of 30.8 million people used the airport’s four terminals in the 2023 financial year, of whom 22.5 million were domestic (up 104 per cent) and 8.3 million were international (up 330 per cent).

Domestic traveller numbers were flat year-on-year in June, but international figures were up 78 per cent at 825,480 people.

Argus says the airport team has worked hard alongside the Victorian State Government to ensure Melbourne is front of mind for airlines as they return aircraft to service and add new planes to their fleets.

"Some of the world’s biggest airlines such as United Airlines, Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines are now flying more seats into Melbourne than they were before the pandemic," says Argus.

"Capacity to key markets such as India and Vietnam is also much higher than in 2019, which means more options for passengers and local exporters; all of which is good news for Victoria’s economy.

"Melbourne Airport continues to plan for infrastructure such as our third runway to ensure we have room to enable further growth and keep Victorians and Victorian produce moving."

Sydney Airport also recovering

The figures released today compare to an 89.9 per cent pre-pandemic recovery in passenger numbers of 3.06 million passing through Sydney Airport in June.

Passenger traffic at Sydney Airport’s T1 international terminal is continuing to grow with 1.16 million travellers passing through in June; almost half a million more than in June 2022.

The number of Chinese visitors in Sydney continues to surge as the seven airlines flying between the city and mainland China increase capacity.

For the third month in a row, Chinese nationals have ranked third in the top 10 nationalities travelling through Sydney Airport, with the June number representing a 69 per cent recovery rate on pre-pandemic June 2019 passengers.

Last week Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said international passenger numbers were now closing in on pre-pandemic levels with strong demand on mainland China routes helping drive the recovery.

"As demand grows, the seven Chinese carriers operating out of Sydney are continuing to add capacity, with 51 return services now flying weekly," Culbert said.

"The international passenger recovery is now close to surpassing the domestic recovery, which has remained largely stagnant over the last year.

"While June domestic passenger numbers were almost on par with June last year, international traffic is gaining momentum and was up 66.7 per cent," he said, while clarifying that steep airfares and high cancellation rates on popular domestic routes were suppressing demand.

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