The seasonally volatile period continues at the airport with rather a rough April impacted by shifts in Easter and Cyclone Debbie the previous year.
2017 had the highest April passenger number on record due to the timing of Easter and impacts from Cyclone Debbie which crossed the Queensland coast on 28 March 2017. Easter fell on 1 April this year rather than 16 April in 2017, which shifted passengers from April into March. April 2017 passenger numbers were increased by people travelling to Cairns instead of areas in central Queensland that had been affected by Cyclone Debbie.
It’s certainly to be hoped this explains the decline with domestic down 4.9% and international down 4.2% on last year. You would have to go back to the GFC aftermath years to find a previous domestic monthly decline that size.
Difficult to determine the impact of these seasonal events from commentary provided. BITRE comparative national airport and route data is currently only updated to February. ASX listed Sydney Airport has updated April stats and actually recorded domestic growth above their annual number.
Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said, “Passenger numbers have strengthened at Sydney Airport increasing 2.6% in the month of April over the prior corresponding period (pcp). International traffic grew 1.8% in April, with increased capacity of 6.5% being offset by lower load factors. Load factors were impacted by the earlier Easter holiday period for 2018 compared to 2017, resulting in a very strong comparative period.
“Domestic growth was a robust 3.1% for April compared to the pcp, driven by a 0.6 percentage point improvement in load factors and a 2.3% increase in capacity.”
Hopefully a less eventful period ahead will provide a better indicator of underlying trends.
Source: Cairns Airport