Feb 12, 2009

Australian aviation industry: strong growth; record passengers

Australian aviation industry: strong growth; record passengers


The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

February 12 2009

The nation’s aviation industry achieved impressive growth last financial year, but airport operators and airlines are bracing for the turbulent economic skies ahead.

I have today released the latest official assessment of the Australian aviation industry: Avline 13. The publication reports that during 2007/08:

  • The industry’s contribution to the economy rose 3.2 per cent to $6.43 billion;
  • The number of travellers flying into and out of Australia increased 5.5 per cent to a record 23.5 million;
  • An unprecedented 48.8 million passengers – up 7.6 per cent on the year before – passed through the country’s domestic terminals;
  • All of Australia’s major airports (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth) recorded higher passenger numbers, with Perth Airport leading the pack; and
  • Freight carried on international flights rose 3.5 per cent to 780,993 tonnes – also a record.

The fact growth in domestic passengers far outstripped the growth in international travellers could be a sign more Australians are choosing to holiday here at home – encouraging news for a local tourism industry experiencing a decline in overseas visitors.

While the current global economic downturn will no doubt adversely affect the local aviation industry over the next 12 to 18 months, we can be confident it enters this more challenging period from a position of relative strength.

However, over the longer-term the Government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development (BITRE) still predicts passenger numbers will nearly double by 2025/26.

That’s why we need to start planning now if Australia is to continue reaping the economic and social benefits of aviation, an industry that generates billions in export income and supports the jobs of half a million Australians.

The Rudd Labor Government is developing the nation’s first ever Aviation White Paper to guide the industry growth over coming decades. As part of this consultative process, I recently released a Green Paper outlining a range of possible policy actions. Public submissions or comments are due by 27 February 2009.

A full copy of Avline 13 can be downloaded from: www.bitre.gov.au.