July 27, 2021

Launceston Airport FY20/21 Passenger results

Launceston Airport welcomed 541,796 passengers during FY20/21, almost half the number recorded the previous financial year demonstrating the strain COVID-19 continues to place on aviation.

Over the last 12 months, Launceston-Melbourne – which is traditionally the airport’s busiest route, carried 286,101 people – a steep decline compared to FY18/19 when more than 960,000 passengers travelled between both cities.

The airport’s CEO Shane O’Hare said Australia’s COVID outbreaks, coupled with the state’s tough border measures, stifled passenger traffic.

“Aviation was one of the first global industries impacted by the coronavirus and it continues to suffer due to constant restrictions and border closures, making it near impossible for travellers to plan and book trips with confidence,” said Mr O’Hare.

“Our latest numbers reveal the devastation the virus has had and behind the figures lie thousands of families and friends forced apart by outbreaks and subsequent border closures.

“Air travel is absolutely vital for Tasmania, it accounts for 90 per cent of trips to the state supporting the movement of passengers and critical freight, and when flights are restricted there’s a severe disconnect between Tasmania and the mainland.

“The current lockdowns in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia are having a significant impact on operations. Last Tuesday we were down to just one arrival and departure forcing the airport to adjust its opening hours affecting employees and contractors.

“Our highly experienced staff will continue to work closely with state health and tourism bodies to ensure we’re ready to bounce back when demand returns, while keeping guests safe.”

Mr O’Hare added that while Australia remained closed off from the rest of the world, Tasmania could benefit from interstate flying provided the nation’s borders stayed open.

“Around Easter this year, when most restrictions eased, we returned to 65 per cent of our pre-COVID passenger capacity demonstrating strong demand across our entire route network of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

“Our airline partners recognise the importance of Launceston Airport as a key gateway to the state, which is why both Qantas and Virgin added capacity and frequencies even despite the challenging year.

“In October, Qantas launched a new route to Sydney after a 16-year hiatus, meanwhile the airline’s regional arm, QantasLink, increased the size of aircraft used on Melbourne services going from a 74-seat Q400 to a 110seat B717 aircraft.

“Virgin also increased services to Brisbane going from one return service a week during the peak summer period to four per week, while also re-establishing flights to Melbourne to 21 per week. Moving forward it is crucial the nation’s borders stay open so Tasmania’s tourism industry and wider economy can recover from the pandemic.

“Now that a COVID vaccine is available the pace of the rollout needs to speed up so we can return to normality. Vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic and is vital to achieve the right health and economic outcomes.”

Passenger and flight figures for Financial Year to July-June 2020/21

Passengers

Financial Year 2020/21 (‘000)

Financial Year 2019/20 (‘000)

Growth (%)*

Total (ex transits)

541,796

1,024,628

-47.1%

Flights

Financial Year 2020/21 (‘000)

Financial Year 2019/20 (‘000)

Growth (%)*

Total (ex transits)

3,839

5,267

-27.1%

*percentage growth compared to FY 2019/20