Key mining and gas hubs in regional Queensland suffered significant drops in air passenger movements last year, according to annual domestic airline statistics issued by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE).
The report showed a 41 per cent drop in the number of people flying into or out of Roma in the Surat Basin in 2016 compared to 2015 and a 15 per cent drop for Moranbah in the Bowen Basin.
Gladstone experienced a 19 per cent drop and Mackay a drop of almost 13 per cent, while Townsville remained fairly static (just 0.6 per cent down compared to 2015) and Rockhampton recorded a 5.8 per cent drop.
The state’s success story was the Brisbane West-Wellcamp Airport at Toowoomba, which recorded the strongest growth of any regional airport in Australia.
Passenger movements in 2016 – the airport’s second full year of operation – reached 120,700, up 71.7 per cent compared to 2015.
“Wellcamp has begun domestic and international freight services over the last year,” Member for Groom Dr John McVeigh said.
“The popularity of the passenger services operating from Wellcamp shines through in these latest BITRE figures and with annual agricultural production of more than $660 million in the Groom electorate Wellcamp’s contribution to freight services will continue to grow.”
The BITRE report showed record growth in freight movement in Australia’s domestic aviation sector in 2016, increasing by 20.5 per cent to 435,700 tonnes.
There were 61.34 million passengers carried on Australian domestic commercial aviation (including charter operations) in the year ending December 2016, an increase of 2 per cent compared with the year ending December 2015.
Melbourne – Sydney remained Australia’s busiest RPT (Regular Public Transport service) route with 8.90 million passengers, an increase of 3.4 per cent compared with the year ending December 2015.
The routes with the greatest percentage increase in passengers included Hamilton Island – Sydney (up 16 per cent) and Brisbane – Hamilton Island (up 13.1 per cent).
RPT routes with traffic decreases in the year ending December 2016, compared with the year ending December 2015, included Brisbane – Gladstone (down 18.3 per cent), Karratha – Perth (down 18.1 per cent), Brisbane – Moranbah (down 15.4 per cent) and Perth – Port Hedland (down 13.1 per cent).
The full report can be accessed here; domestic_airline_activity_2016a