Domestic aviation continues to grow following strong 2016

Media Release


30 March 2017

  • Cargo movements on Regular Public Transport (RPT) flights up 20.5 per cent to 435,700 tonnes
  • 61.34 million passengers carried by domestic airlines in 2016, a 2 per cent increase on 2015

Australia's domestic aviation sector saw record growth in freight movement in 2016 as well as a 2 per cent increase in patronage to 61.34 million passengers.

The annual domestic airline statistics issued by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) showed total cargo movements on domestic Regular Public Transport (RPT) flights increased by 20.5 per cent to 435,700 tonnes from 2015.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester welcomed the strong figures and said it was evidence the government's policies to grow the Australian aviation industry were succeeding.

“From January to December 2016 we saw growth in almost all areas of domestic aviation, and particularly encouraging is the rebound in freight movement after a low 2015,” Mr Chester said.

“These latest figures also show that, with 26.93 million passenger movements recorded in 2016, Sydney has maintained its position as Australia's busiest domestic airport, followed by Melbourne with 24.78 million passenger movements.

“The Australian Government is working hard to support the momentum by delivering key airport infrastructure upgrades, aviation reforms and reducing red tape.

“The Melbourne-to-Sydney route was again the nation's busiest with the number of passenger movements increasing by 3.4 per cent to 8.9 million, compared to 2015.

“It's also pleasing to see continued growth at our regional airports where 24 million domestic passenger movements were recorded in 2016—a 1.3 per cent increase on 2015.

“Of the top 50 regional airports, the strongest growth was at Wellcamp airport near Toowoomba with 120,700 passenger movements in 2016 in only its second full year of operation.

“Based on January 2017 figures it looks like the trend in growth is continuing with a 2.8 per cent increase to 5.15 million passengers travelling within Australia compared to January 2016, and an increase in cargo movement of 10.8 per cent to 33,600 tonnes.

A copy of Domestic Aviation Activity 2016 can be found at:

For more information on Australia's aviation system: