Australian international passenger numbers on the up and up

Media Release

DC138/2017

26 May 2017

Australia experienced a 7.9 per cent increase in its international aviation passenger numbers in 2016, a rate that—if it continues—will see a doubling of our passenger numbers in less than 10 years.

International scheduled passenger traffic hit 37.6 million last year according to the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics’ International Airline Activity 2016 report.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said a highlight of the report was passenger traffic between Australia and China reaching 2.48 million in 2016, an increase of 28.7 per cent over the previous year.

“I would expect that to grow even further in light of our recently concluded open-skies style air services arrangements with China, which means airlines from both nations can continue expanding their services,” Mr Chester said.

“We’ve also settled our first treaty-level air services framework with Israel, recently signed an aviation agreement with Peru, secured more flights to Fiji via revised arrangements, formally designated Sunshine Coast and Wellcamp Airports as international airports, and officially opened Canberra Airport’s international terminal.

“In the past 12 months we’ve also removed Avalon Airport from the list of major Australian airports, meaning we can offer unrestricted capacity to international airlines.

“This is a significant list of achievements and all these policies have strengthened our international aviation sector over the past 12 months, and the results are really showing in these statistics.”

Mr Chester said growth in aviation routes was widespread, including to major destinations and gateways overseas such as Japan (up 23.6 per cent) and Indonesia (up 14.9 per cent.

“Traffic to and from other key markets such as New Zealand, Singapore, the United States and Hong Kong also continues to grow as does international air freight, with around one million tonnes carried in 2016, an increase of nearly four per cent compared to 2015.”

The 2016 international aviation annual report, published by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics, is available at bitre.gov.au