Jun 16, 2008

2007: A Bumper year for international air travel

2007: A Bumper year for international air travel


The Hon Anthony Albanese

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

June 6 2008

The nation’s international airports have just experienced their busiest year, handling a record number of passengers and more than 760,000 tonnes of freight.


Last year, the number of international passengers arriving and departing from Australian airports rose 6 per cent to almost 22.8 million, the highest number ever carried in a single calendar year (see Chart 1).


That’s the key finding of a new report I’m releasing today: International Scheduled Air Transport 2007.


Despite global economic uncertainties and rising oil prices, Australia remains a favourite destination of overseas travellers, and the desire of Australians to holiday and do business abroad remains strong.


 With growth comes new challenges – and if Australia is to continue reaping the economic and social benefits of international air travel we need to plan ahead, particularly given many of our major airports are already close to capacity during peak periods.


That is why the Rudd Labor Government has announced its intention to develop Australia’s first ever aviation White Paper to guide the industry growth over the next decade and beyond.


As a first step I have released an Issues Paper so all those with an interest in the future of the Australian aviation industry can have their say, with public submissions closing at the end of June.


We will then release a Green Paper and conduct a further period of public consultation before finalising the White Paper – a process that should be completed by the middle of next year.


Reports like the one I’m releasing today will also inform the Government’s deliberations.


The report’s other findings include:

  • Sydney continued to attract the largest share of international arrivals and departures (45.6 per cent), followed by Melbourne with 20 per cent, Brisbane with 17.2 per cent and Perth with a little over 10 per cent;
  • Perth recorded the biggest jump in annual passenger numbers – up almost 17 per cent within just 12 months.  Melbourne was up 6.4 per cent; Sydney by 5.2 per cent; and Brisbane by 4.2 per cent;
  • In an increasingly competitive marketplace we’ve seen several new airlines enter the top 10 – Pacific Blue, Jetstar and Emirates – and Qantas’ market share continuing to decline;
  • The proportion of the market carried by Australian airlines has decline from 43 per cent in 1997 to 33 per cent in 2007.  Over the same period, Singapore Airlines increased its share by 4.4 percentage points and Emirates by
  • 7 percentage points;
  • The total number of seats on flights to and from Australia was 29.8 million, down 1.4 per cent since 2005.  As a result, overall seat utilisation increased from 70.2 per cent in 2005 to 77.5 per cent in 2007;
  • ‘Low Cost Carriers’ (LCC) have more than doubled their share of the market in just two years, going from 4.5 per cent in 2005 to 10 per cent last year.

The strong 2007 results are a further indication that the international airline industry has recovered from the September 11 terrorist attack on the US and the 2003 SARS crisis.


International Scheduled Air Transport 2007 was compiled by the Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).


A full copy of the report can be downloaded from: www.bitre.gov.au.