Cairns Airport 2017: slow out of the blocks

The Cairns Airport numbers for March include some positive PR spin on international routes. This has been a feature in recent months. It can’t disguise a slow start to the year below expectations following a positive tourism narrative all through 2016.

AirportBlog

The growth slowdown has been quite sharp on the nominal numbers. However Q1 is impacted by seasonal lunar factors and the 2016 leap year which make analysis more opaque. There was some controversy around Chinese New Year flights and related tourism numbers. Comparative BITRE data posted for key domestic routes in February is quite poor for Cairns. This is the 30 largest city pairs for February:

City-Pair Feb 2016 Feb 2017 % Change
19 Hobart – Sydney  49 154  52 456 6.7
30 Melbourne – Sunshine Coast  26 336  27 949 6.1
26 Sunshine Coast – Sydney  36 750  38 796 5.6
8 Hobart – Melbourne  129 564  136 043 5.0
12 Canberra – Melbourne  83 127  86 904 4.5
23 Brisbane – Newcastle  41 775  43 145 3.3
22 Adelaide – Perth  46 243  47 412 2.5
29 Ballina – Sydney  28 519  28 973 1.6
25 Brisbane – Canberra  39 457  39 597 0.4
2 Brisbane – Sydney  351 922  349 746 -0.6
7 Adelaide – Sydney  145 720  144 427 -0.9
28 Melbourne – Newcastle  32 771  32 401 -1.1
20 Brisbane – Mackay  49 661  49 091 -1.1
5 Adelaide – Melbourne  186 480  182 535 -2.1
4 Gold Coast – Sydney  212 763  207 359 -2.5
24 Brisbane – Rockhampton  40 954  39 862 -2.7
9 Gold Coast – Melbourne  138 607  134 822 -2.7
14 Launceston – Melbourne  78 260  76 088 -2.8
15 Canberra – Sydney  77 293  75 093 -2.8
18 Adelaide – Brisbane  59 094  56 910 -3.7
1 Melbourne – Sydney  743 202  713 450 -4.0
17 Brisbane – Townsville  65 563  62 812 -4.2
10 Perth – Sydney  134 203  128 175 -4.5
13 Cairns – Sydney  82 414  78 064 -5.3
3 Brisbane – Melbourne  253 989  240 455 -5.3
21 Cairns – Melbourne  50 771  47 655 -6.1
16 Brisbane – Perth  72 178  67 530 -6.4
6 Melbourne – Perth  158 809  145 066 -8.7
11 Brisbane – Cairns  104 094  93 632 -10.1
27 Karratha – Perth  38 595  33 093 -14.3

Brisbane – Cairns is a standout there surrounded by resource related declines. The leap year in 2016 will take a bit under 3% (percentage points) off growth numbers for all airports. No excuses in April.

Graphs and most recent BITRE data updated at Cairns Airport.

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