International passenger numbers fly high at Cairns Airport during January
Direct flights to Singapore and China fuelled strong growth in international passengers at Cairns Airport in January.
A total of 65,280 international passengers arrived at the airport during January, a 4% increase over the same month last year.
Cairns Airport's Chief Commercial Officer - Aviation Paul McLean said direct services by China Southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines were key to the international terminal's growth in January.
Charter flights from Seoul by Jin Air and the increase in SilkAir flights to Singapore (to five per week) also contributed to the rise in passenger numbers.
"Domestic passengers were down by 1% totalling 4,860 less than January 2017," Mr McLean said.
"This reflects the change of date for Chinese New Year as domestic airlines added capacity to meet this demand in January 2017.
"With the new Chinese services now operating, more Chinese international passengers can come to Cairns direct from overseas rather than flying south to fly north again on domestic services, which is how almost 80% of current international visitors arrive to Cairns."
On a broader statewide level, Conus economist Pete Faulkner has found Queensland is lagging behind other states when it comes to attracting international tourists.
His analysis of Australian Bureau of Statistics data for short term arrivals and departures during December showed that Queensland was the only state or territory that saw a decline in numbers over the past 12 months.
"As we have been saying for a long time, Queensland is struggling to keep up with other states in terms of its attractiveness to international visitors," Mr Faulkner said.
"This has been demonstrated by the Tourism Research Australia International Visitors Survey over many quarters and today’s ABS data merely confirms it. Victoria took over second spot from Queensland back in early 2014 and the gap between the two has widen significantly ever since."
Current and historic Cairns Airport passenger numbers and air traffic statistics are available by clicking here.