Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

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Ho Really
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Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#1 Post by Ho Really » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:02 am

Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

The number of air passenger movements through Australian capital and non-capital city airports is forecast to double to 279 million within the next two decades.

That’s the key finding of the latest Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) research report “Air passenger movements through capital and non-capital city airports to 2030–31” released at the Australian Airports Association National Convention.

For the first time, the report also includes statistics for our non-capital city airports including Newcastle, Cairns, Gold Coast, Townsville and Launceston.

The report provides the data to help Australia plan its airport infrastructure into the future. Whether it will help solve the sorry impasse over Sydney Airport, where the obvious course (Badgery’s Creek) is consistently stymied by political interests, is another matter.

The number of air passenger movements through all Australian airports is projected to grow strongly over the next 20 years, largely due to a positive economic outlook for Australia and its trading partners.

Passenger numbers are forecast to increase by 3.7% a year over the forecast period, from 135.1 million in 2010–11 to 279.2 million in 2030–31.

Domestic and international air passenger movements are projected to increase by 3.3 and 4.9% a year over the same period to 207.1 and 72.1 million, respectively, in 2030-31.

The number of air passenger movements through capital city and non-capital city airports are expected to grow by 3.8% and 3.2% a year over the same period to 230.5 and 48.8 million, respectively, in 2030-31. Passenger numbers are forecast to grow by:

3.6% a year in Sydney to 72.0m
3.9% a year in Melbourne to 60.4m
4.2% a year in Brisbane to 45.1m
4.4% a year in Perth to 25.7m
3.1% a year in Adelaide to 13.5m
4.4% a year in Gold Coast to 13.1m
3.7% a year in Cairns to 8.0m
3.3% a year in Canberra to 6.1m
4.2% a year in Darwin to 4.2m
3.0% a year in Hobart to 3.5m
3.7% a year in Townsville to 3.4m
3.1% a year in Newcastle to 2.2m
2.7% a year in Launceston to 2.0m
2.3% a year in all other airports to 20.1m

Forecasts have been developed using expected growth in population, real income levels, exchange rates, real airfares and travel and accommodation prices.

Global Travel Media
I think they may have underestimated Adelaide. I'm betting on at least 15 million by then.

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Re: Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#2 Post by Maximus » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:38 pm

Ho Really wrote:I think they may have underestimated Adelaide. I'm betting on at least 15 million by then.
Definitely inclined to agree with you, Ho. Passenger growth at Adelaide Airport has averaged 4.3% per annum for the past 20 years (c.f Sydney 4.4%, Melbourne 5.2%, Brisbane 5.9% and Perth 7.1%). I haven't yet read the BITRE report in detail, but I can't see any good reason why that growth should drop to 3.1% in the next 19 years. Particularly if Olympic Dam happens during that time.

Note that the average growth of the past 10 years is even better for Adelaide Airport -- 5.2% (c.f. Sydney 4.5%, Melbourne 5.8%, Brisbane 5.9% and Perth 9.7%). That 10-year growth includes annual growth of 10.4% in international passengers, which is the highest for any of the five main airports (admittedly off quite a low base compared to the others).

Applying the 20-year growth rate to 2011-12 passenger numbers puts Adelaide at approx 15 million in 2030-31. Or the 10-year growth rate equates to approx 18 million.

Further reading here if you'd like to do some number-crunching yourselves. :)
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Re: Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#3 Post by Ho Really » Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:53 pm

Thanks for that Maximus! I was actually going to post 15 to 18 million, but decided to be more conservative and go for the lower end. I didn't check any numbers and went on gut feeling. So thanks for the link. One point they've probably missed is our potential to expand tourism and links to China and India. Add this to the mentioned Olympic Dam (and other possible future projects) and the numbers can only go up. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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Re: Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#4 Post by Maximus » Thu Nov 22, 2012 1:23 pm

Okay, so I've read this in a bit more detail now (yes, I'm a stats nerd) and the forecasts are lower than historical growth figures...
...mainly due to slower expected economic growth in Australia, the maturation of the influence of low-cost carriers on domestic passenger growth and the assumed increase in real domestic airfares and relative price of domestic and overseas travel and accommodation.
Realistically, though, these forecasts can only ever be a guide, because they...
...are solely driven by demand-side parameters related to population, income, exchange rates and price variables. They do not include the influence of supply-side parameters related to airport capacity and available air route capacity, largely due to the difficulty in estimating these effects in the absence of long time-series data on supply-side variables that influence airport activities, including passenger movements. Although BITRE has qualitatively taken into account the influence of some supply-side variables, such as expected infrastructure development under airport master plans, introduction of new-generation aircraft on Australia’s international routes, fleet size of major airlines operating on Australia’s international and domestic routes and seat utilization rates, the forecasts are not equilibrium forecasts, determined at the intersection of demand and supply curves. Airport-specific aircraft or passenger processing limits could constrain the number of passenger movements through an airport most particularly at Sydney.
So, take it all with a grain of salt. I'll put my money on at least 15 mil for Adelaide. I wonder if this forum will still be running in 2031 to see whether that's right...? :)
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Re: Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#5 Post by Omicron » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:33 am

72m through Sydney Airport is a bit daunting. That's around the peak capacity figure for that site, isn't it?

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Re: Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#6 Post by Maximus » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:15 pm

Omicron wrote:72m through Sydney Airport is a bit daunting. That's around the peak capacity figure for that site, isn't it?
That's a very fraught question, partly because airport capacity isn't only measured by passenger numbers, but also aircraft movements. But the answer to your question is probably "yep, pretty much", assuming there's no change to the current curfew arrangements or the hourly cap on aircraft movements.

It's not just about the airport itself, though. This report predicts that by 2015 there will be a near-constant traffic jam on the main roads around Sydney Airport. :shock:
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Re: Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#7 Post by rev » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:22 pm

What are you guys basing this 15 million by 2030 on?

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Re: Air passenger numbers in Australia to double by 2030

#8 Post by Maximus » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:10 am

rev wrote:What are you guys basing this 15 million by 2030 on?
Mate, see my earlier post. It's the current level of passenger numbers projected forward using a historical growth factor. If you use the growth of the past 20 years at Adelaide Airport, passenger numbers equal approx 15 million in 2030. If you use the growth of the past 10 years, which is higher, it comes to 18 million in 2030.
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