The number of airline passengers travelling in and out of Australia has risen 7% to reach 36.2 million in 2015–16, and numbers are expected to keep growing with three additional Australian airports given ‘regional international gateway’ status.
“This represents a 7% increase, which is an additional 2.4 million passengers, compared to movements recorded in 2014–15,” Australia’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester commented yesterday.
“This is a pleasing result particularly as it maintains the upward trend in total international air passenger numbers recorded by BITRE since 2003–04.
“The Australian Government is committed to supporting the growing demand for more international air passenger seats to and from our country, and we are delivering by signing Free Trade Agreements and improving access to airports across the nation.”
Chester referred to the provision last week of a AUD 181 million concessional loan to help fund a new runway at the Sunshine Coast Airport, which will give aircraft as large as the Airbus A330 direct access to this rapidly growing regional hub.
“The Government also recently introduced a more flexible policy for air services negotiations with our bilateral partners.
“This in turn is delivering clear benefits to local export businesses, our tourism industry, and the broader economy.
“Increased international airline activity is expected to flow from the government’s decision to grant ‘regional international gateway’ status to Melbourne’s Avalon Airport, Canberra Airport, and Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport under Australia’s bilateral air services arrangements.
“As a result, those airports are now able to service an unrestricted number of flights for the international carriers they partner with.
“The benefits are already evident with Cathay Pacific beginning regular international freight services through Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport from today.
“Australia’s future is bright. The new statistics reflect the Coalition government connecting Australians and their businesses to the world, and attracting people abroad to visit our great country.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo said the Coalition was prioritising the negotiation of bilateral air services agreements to ensure we have the aviation capacity necessary to meet the Tourism 2020 goal of AUD 140 billion in overnight visitor expenditure by the year 2020.
“The Coalition tripled the gateway capacity between Australia and China, which saw spending by Chinese tourists surge 27 per cent in the last 12 months to reach AUD 8.9 billion,” Ciobo said.
Edited by Peter Needham