Nov 28, 2008

Another Record Year for the Australian Aviation Industry

Another Record Year for the Australian Aviation Industry


The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

November 28 2008

Despite tougher global economic conditions the popularity of air travel continues to grow, with more people than ever before flying domestically as well as into and out of Australia.

According to three new annual reports which I’ve released today, airlines have posted impressive gains in passenger numbers over the past 12 months.

During 2007/08, an extra 1.1 million passengers flew into and out of Australia; while an additional 3.4 million passengers caught domestic flights.

All up, 23.3 million international and 49.3 million domestic passengers passed through the nation’s airports last financial year.

There was however a jump in the number of flight delays and cancellations, with on-time performance amongst eight of Australia’s major domestic and regional carriers (Jetstar, MacAir, Qantas, QantasLink, Regional Express, Skywest, Tiger Airways and Virgin Blue) down by 7 per cent.

Figures like those released today confirm that the Australian aviation industry is in good shape despite local and global economic challenges. Nonetheless, if Australia is to continue reaping the economic benefits of aviation, we need to start planning now.

That’s why we are developing the nation’s first ever comprehensive aviation strategy – the aviation White Paper. As the next step in finalising this strategy, I will be releasing a Green Paper this coming Tuesday for public consultation.

The White Paper will assist the industry overcome its immediate challenges such as a lack of pilots and engineers, as well as provide new opportunities for growth, including the pursuit of a more liberal international aviation market.

The three new reports – International Scheduled Air Transport 2007/08, Australian Domestic Airline Activity 2007/08 and Airline On-Time Performance 2007/08 Financial Year Report – were produced by my Department’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).

All three can be downloaded from:


International activity…

  • 56 international airlines operated services to and from Australia during the year.
  • Each year since 2003 has recorded the highest level of passenger traffic when compared to the year before.
  • International passenger traffic in 2007/08 increased by over 1.1 million people – a 5.1 per cent rise from the previous year.

Domestic activity…

  • The collective distance flown by paying passengers was 56.19 billion kilometres – up 8 per cent on the year before.
  • The number of available seats increased 8 per cent to over 63 million.
  • There were over 20,000 extra flights flown in 2007/2008 – an increase of 3.9 per cent.

On-time performance…

  • The cancellation rate hit a high of 3.3 per cent in June 2008.
  • Of the major domestic airlines, Virgin Blue achieved the highest level of on time departures at 80.3 per cent, while Qantas achieved the highest level of on time arrivals at 79.6 per cent.
  • The Canberra–Adelaide route had the highest percentage of on time departures (90.9 per cent) and arrivals (90.4 per cent).