I had looked before at the numbers for top flight routes and intended to return for a closer look. BITRE data is a collection of monstrously large and cumbersome excel files which can be a deterrent but was finally motivated by comments elsewhere on “hot” tourism which would seem to conflict with soft numbers at Cairns Airport.
Top route data at BITRE includes city pairs BNE-CNS, CNS-SYD and CNS-MEL. The three major capitals contribute an overwhelming majority of domestic airline passenger traffic to Cairns. The largest route is BNE-CNS which has shown a disturbing trend over the past year or so.
The moving annual totals data from BITRE indicates seats BNE-CNS are down 7.4% and passenger numbers down 3.7% year to November 2018. Annual seat numbers on the route peaked back in November 2017. Maybe I have been asleep but can’t recall any previous commentary at all on this in Cairns?
Growth via SYD and MEL is softer than previous levels but remains positive at 0.9% and 1.6% respectively for passengers. Which would seem to suggest that the negative annual numbers we have seen start to come through at Cairns Airport can be mostly attributed to Brisbane. We haven’t had any comment with the monthly numbers from the Airport for a while now.
Qantas have recently announced an additional 11 return flights on the route from March 31: Qantas boosts flights for Queensland travellers. However it isn’t clear how much of that will be additional capacity rather than return of seats lost on the route since 2017?
Load factor on the route has risen to an historical 87.5% high for the series in line with rising airfares and Alan Joyce’s bonus. Someone still isn’t happy though: Qantas says productivity commission sux
Note: BITRE data is revenue passengers on scheduled flights a slightly different basis to numbers reported by the Airport however trends are generally consistent. The monthly Airport numbers posted here and by HTW are also ex transits.