Over on the Regional Living Australia blog I decided to look at the busiest airports in Regional Australia. The list shows quite clearly the importance of mining and tourism in driving traffic.
Having done this and with the stats still in front of me, I decided to look at the overall Australian pattern to see what it told us.
Dealing with total numbers first, in 2005-2006 there were 103,997,499 revenue passenger movements. This was an increase of 37,781,964 (57 per cent) since 1995-1996.
Of total passenger numbers, international accounted for 21,096,951 or 20 per cent of all passengers, an increase of 8,417,500 or 66.4 per cent since 1995-1996. So international traffic has been growing faster in percentage terms than domestic traffic.
Then I looked at Australia's top ten airports. Ranked by size, they are:
One. Sydney, with 28,996,263 revenue passenger movements. This was an increase of 9,118,526 over 1995-1996, up 45.9 per cent.
So Sydney traffic has been growing more slowly in percentage terms than the national average of 57 per cent over the same period. Reflecting this, Sydney's share of national traffic has fallen from just over 30 per cent in 1995-1996 to 27.9 per cent in 2005-2006.
Sydney is Australia's major international airport. In 2005-2006 Sydney had 9,667,554 international revenue passenger movement, up 3,473,913 or 56 per cent. Again, below the national average of 66.4 per cent. As a consequence, Sydney's share of total international traffic fell from 48.8 per cent in 1995-1996 to 45.8 per cent in 2005-2006.
Two. Melbourne, with 21,040,864 revenue passenger movements in 2005-2006, up 8,969,045 or 69 per cent, well above the national average. In 2005-2006 Melbourne had 4,253,268 international revenue passenger movement, up 2,169,546 or 103.6 per cent, miles above the national average.
In terms of the eternal pecking war between the two cities, it appears that over the last decade Melbourne has out performed Sydney in this as in many other areas.
Third. Brisbane, with 16,015,923 revenue passenger movement in 2005-2006, up 6,780,037 or 73.4 per cent since 1995-1996, well above the national average of 57 per cent. Brisbane's international traffic grew from 2,065,369 to 3,646,891 during the same period, an increase of 1,581,522 or 76.6 per cent, again above the national average of 66.4 per cent.
Fourth. Perth, with 7,005,254 revenue passenger movements in 2005-2006, up 2,860,382 or 69 per cent. While this is higher than the national average, I had expected it to be higher still because of the mining boom.
Perth's international traffic grew from 1,236,091 in 1995-1996 to 1,979,750 in 2005-2006, an increase of 743,659 or 6o per cent. Again a surprise, because this is below the national average.
Fifth. Adelaide, with 5,766,504 revenue passenger movements in 2005-2006, up 2,023,766 or 54.1 per cent. This is below the national average of 57 per cent, but not by as much as I had expected.
Adelaide's international traffic grew from 206,267 in 1995-1996 to 347,064 in 2005-2006, an increase of 140,797 or 68.3 per cent, just above the national average.
At this point, we drop outside the major state capitals.
Sixth. Cairns in North Queensland, 3,731,178 revenue passenger movements, up from 2,594,857 in 1995-96. This total includes 855,949 international passengers, up from 694,650 in 1995-1996.
Seventh. Gold Coast, 3,515,021, up from 1,992,862 in 1995-1996. This total includes 210, 495 international passengers, up from zero in 1995-1996.
Eighth. Canberra, 2,550,129, up from 1,749,608 in 1995-1996.
Ninth. Hobart, 1,605,978, up from 850,295 in 1995-1996. Hobart used to have a small number of international flights, but these stopped during 1997-98.
Tenth. Darwin, 1,219,376, up from 931,578 in 1995-1996. This total includes 116,454 international passengers, down from 141,703 in 1995-1996.