Cairns Airport domestic passenger numbers for March were actually up 2.5% on the previous year although this is rather meaningless given the contrasting circumstances.
March 2020 was when things got interesting and traffic through the airport was dominated by departing visitors. March 2021 reverses that with arrivals leading into Easter and the school holiday period as restrictions are relaxed. An unusual consequence is that annual arrivals into Cairns Airport have eclipsed departures over the past year.
Meaningful comparative data remains problematic but the Brisbane – Cairns route could be worth monitoring particularly load factors as capacity returns. This became the busiest route in Australia for a period last year with borders closed. Monthly data here is from BITRE to January 2021.
Maybe also a time to recall, evident in these graphs, that Cairns Airport traffic had been weak pre-pandemic down 3.7% in 2019.