SYDNEY Airport (ASX:SYD) has made a flying start to 2016 with passenger numbers hitting close to seven million in the first two months of the year.
The figures are up 8 per cent from a year earlier, driven by double-digit growth in international passenger movements.
The latest figures released by the airport show that 3.29 million passed through Mascot Airport in February, which is up 10 per cent in the past year.
International tourists surged 12.7 per cent, aided by Chinese New Year, while domestic passenger numbers were up 8.5 per cent.
The biggest growth market during February was Korea, up 27.7 per cent, followed by Japan, up 25.7 per cent.
China's inbound numbers were up 19.6 per cent, while the US rose19.1 per cent.
"This strong result was driven by seat capacity growth, earlier Lunar New Year celebrations and the leap year," says Sydney Airport Managing Director and CEO Kerrie Mather.
"The international 12-month rolling performance is now 6.1 per cent and significantly above our historical long-term trend.
"We welcomed nearly 3.3 million passengers in February, continuing the very strong start to 2016.
"Pleasingly the domestic market experienced an exceptional 8.7 per cent seat capacity growth."
Mather says the new Qatar Airways service, which first touched down in Sydney on March 2, will add an extra 245,000 seats per year.
"The service will provide passengers with connectivity to more than 150 destinations via Doha in addition to providing greater air cargo capacity.
"Qatar Airways will provide passengers with more choice on one of the fastest growing airlines and youngest fleets in the world."
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