The monthly numbers for March at Cairns Airport were as bad as expected.
As flagged last month the March numbers are negatively impacted by lunar shifts in Easter and the new year. Again the best timely commentary on general market conditions comes from Sydney Airport which also did a data dump on Good Thursday for bad news.
International and Domestic passenger numbers declined 3.8% and 3.4% respectively on the prior corresponding period. As expected, International passenger numbers were impacted by a shift in timing of both Easter and Lunar New Year driving decreases in both seat capacity and load factors. However, strong load factors on North American routes helped boost US traveller growth to 11%. Domestically, the trends for March were similar to the year to date, where a decrease in frequencies, aircraft downgauging and subdued load factors drove a reduction in domestic passengers for the month.
There will be no excuses in April with the tailwinds into Cairns all positive from the later Easter shift and a scheduled domestic capacity increase from Qantas. After that the lunarcy events will be behind and we shouldn’t (?) see negative monthly domestic numbers of that size at Cairns Airport for the remainder of the year.