Airport February: takeoff or rough landing?

Cairns Airport numbers for February have been welcomed enthusiastically by TTNQ: Chinese New Year success for Tropical North Qld

Our operators’ experiences are backed by Cairns Airport figures for February showing international passengers increased by 21 per cent to 60,910 and domestic passengers increased by 9 per cent to 305,200.

However we need to be a bit cautious as this kind of monthly volatility is typical with the lunar influenced shifts in early months of the year and so far is a blip on the 12 month moving average.

Airport February 3Airport February 2Airport February 1

The lunar factor and also last years poor season come into play as these February numbers are off the back of negative monthly results last year for both domestic and international. Commentary on the recovery from last year is noted at Conus: TTNQ claim Chinese New Year as a success for FNQ

The lunar calendar will continue to influence subsequent months with Easter moving from mid April to commence in March and some consequent adjustment in school holidays.

TTNQ also provided positive feedback on accommodation for the Chinese New Year period:

During Chinese New Year, accommodation in the city was close to capacity, especially at the five-star hotels, with a number of apartments and mid-range hotels also reporting strong Chinese figures.
Across the Cairns area there was 86.1 per cent occupancy, up 4.6 per cent from the previous February, while Palm Cove showed the greatest increase with a 19.3 per cent boost to occupancy bringing it to 53.1 per cent, and Port Douglas had 35.1 per cent occupancy, an increase of 4.3 per cent.
Occupancy across Tropical North Queensland was up 5.6 per cent to 68.6 per cent and the revenue per available room also grew across the region, up 17.9 per cent to $106 a night.

This kind of commentary always reminds me of the classic XKCD cartoon:

XKCD Percentages

Also to consider in those accommodation numbers is the removal of Tradewinds for complete renovation by GA Group. I did see reduced capacity in the upper market segment in Cairns mentioned in a recent report I think from Mantra from Reef Casino.


Reef Accom

– Reef Casino, FY2017 Results commentary, February 2018


Pokie Outperformance / Underperformance

Cairns continues to out outperform / underperform when it comes to pokie win / player loss. I guess this is a matter of perspective. Some interesting graphs in this data though.

Gaming February

February growth in Cairns SA4 at 8.5% was well above Queensland at 5.1%. Townsville lagged badly with just 1.2% growth for the month.

Pokie infiltration became something of an issue in the recent Tasmanian election.

Water Escalation

Tinaroo is now at 71% of capacity. Up from 47.7% at the end of February. Still a way to go to full supply.

Tinaroo 1103

Weekly Tropical Climate Note:

Coastal parts of tropical Queensland experienced very heavy rainfall during the past week. Widespread totals of more than 500 mm were recorded on the east coast between Mossman and Ingham. Some sites near Innisfail, the wettest region in Australia on average, had more than 900 mm during the week. The highest rainfall total of 926 mm was recorded at Topaz rainfall station. Significant flooding and infrastructure damage was widely reported across the region.



Dam Divergence

A look at dam levels following recent rainfall events updated to February 28 at the BOM.

FEbruary climate 2FEbruary climate 3

Seasonal inflows at Tinaroo have pushed it back up towards 50% while the Burdekin was at 105% on February 28. Data at Sunwater has the Burdekin surging up over 130% in the four days since.

The Burdekin has generally maintained higher levels over recent years while Tinaroo has declined.  Burdekin capacity is over four times larger than Tinaroo but there is a huge difference in catchment. Barron River wet tropics catchment for Tinaroo is quite limited at 545 km². The Burdekin catchment is listed as 114,220 km² at Wikipedia albeit in a much drier climate. Rainfall down at Cairns has been only just very slightly below average over the past year to February. Tinaroo catchment seems to have missed out in recent years.

The Nullinga Dam proposal on the southern tableland has also been in the news recently with the business case to be progressed.