Mar 19, 2013

Regional Australia Flying High

The future of regional aviation has never been brighter with new data released today showing that traffic through regional airports has increased by 25 per cent since 2007.

The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) Air transport service trends in regional Australia shows a record 24.4 million passengers flying on regional flights in Australia last year, with the number of regional airports receiving services increasing to 171 in 2012.

Clearly, the downward trend we saw in the Howard years has been well and truly reversed.

Put simply, with services to more airports, more flights available and competitive fares, more people are flying.

The good news for regional travellers is average regional air fares are now 35 per cent cheaper in real terms than they were 10 years ago.

March 2003 March 2013
Albury to Sydney

($283 internet discount)

Albury to Sydney

($216 internet discount)

Cairns to Townsville

($245 internet discount)

Cairns to Townsville

($208 internet discount)

Port Macquarie to Sydney

($291 internet discount)

Port Macquarie to Sydney

($174 internet discount)

Launceston to Melbourne

($184 internet discount)

Launceston to Melbourne

($108 internet discount)

Other BITRE findings showed:

  • There were more than 9 million passengers going through airports in inner and outer regional Australia in 2012
  • Air travel between major cities and our regions accounts for more than 90 per cent of the entire regional aviation market.
  • In 2012 there were 176 active air routes between regional areas and major cities, and around 300 air routes between regional areas.
  • The Karratha – Perth route experienced the largest growth of all Australian regional routes

The industry has consistently shown it can adapt to the growing reliance of Australians on aviation both for business and leisure as well as continuing its important role in delivering vital services to regional communities.

Strong regional aviation is not just important for regional communities but is also good for Australia.

We are committed to working with airlines, airports and regional communities to ensure strong and competitive aviation services for our regional areas now, and into the future.

The fact is there is more money and support going into regional aviation than ever before.

Since coming to Government, we’ve invested $75 million to upgrade 26 regional airports including expanding Orange Airport ($4.9m), upgrading Ballina Airport ($3.5m) and increasing capacity at Emerald Airport ($5m).  We’ve also invested $48 million to make 237 remote airstrips safer.

The BITRE’s Air transport service trends in regional Australia is available at