Thursday, February 4, 2016

Airports up up and away for summer

Cairns Airport reported strong growth in December with international up 22.9% and domestic up 6.9% on the previous year. While the international recovery has sustained recent momentum it is the domestic number there which is particularly impressive given the relative scale and contribution to trend growth.

December seems to have been an exceptional month elsewhere as well. Traffic through Sydney was outstanding given its size and scale with domestic up 5.6% and international 8.6% for a total 6.7% growth. All well above trends "driven by strong load factors and seat capacity growth". Domestic was the strongest monthly growth since 2012 with seat capacity also up 4.6% on the previous year.
Qantas has previously flagged a shift in capacity from resource related to tourism routes. Gold Coast hasn't yet posted numbers for December but to November has reported total passenger growth of 5.1% for the first five months of FY2016 with double digit growth in international at 12.2%.
Over the ditch in the rebellious eastern provinces Auckland Airport (AIA) also continues the growth story. International (ex transits) was up 8.8% in December and domestic (NZ) up 10.8%. AIA also operates Queenstown Airport which completed a big 2015 with international +25.9% and domestic + 10.1% for the year. Monthly domestic was up 20% for December at Queenstown and international 26.8%. AIA is also a stakeholder in NQ Airports (Cairns & Mackay). Mackay was down 11% in December on the previous year in line with the resource sector weakness.
Brisbane is more problematic with posted December numbers containing apparent errors. Brisbane reported growth of 5.6% in both domestic and international. However domestic appears actually to be just 2.5% based on the raw numbers posted? There is also a discrepancy of a thousand in adding up the totals for the month. One hopes the person counting heads at Brisbane is not also responsible for air traffic control. 
ABS arrivals and departures data for December is scheduled for release at the end of next week.