Brisbane Airport starts 2023 with record recovery!

A view over Brisbane Airport domestic terminal
Phil Vabre (GFDL or GFDL), via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Queensland’s most significant and busiest airport has recorded an astonishing growth record since 2020. Brisbane Airport (BNE) posted a great start to 2023 as it enjoyed a post-pandemic record.

Last Saturday 7 January saw 14,500 passengers utilising the airport’s International Terminal, as the country enjoyed a post-Covid tourism rebound and a large pent-up outbound international traffic. 

Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO, Gert-Jan de Graaff observed: “If you think back to this time last year, international arrivals were capped at 1,000 people per week so we’ve come a long way.”

De Graaf also mentioned that the entire tourism industry within Queensland is also busier than ever, and plays a major role in the recovery of air traffic as well: 

“When Brisbane Airport is busy, Queensland is busy. And that’s particularly great news for Queenslanders working in the tourism industry from Cairns to Coolangatta.”

In fact, domestic air travel has nearly fully recovered and is at 90%, whilst international levels are somewhat satisfactory at 63% of pre-pandemic levels. Many Australians are choosing to travel domestically as airfares remain rather steep. 

In January alone, approximately 1.7 million passengers are expected to pass through both Domestic and International facilities, which is an increase of a million from last January (2022). 

Here are the levels shown year-on-year within the same period since 2019:   

January – Domestic and International Passenger Numbers

2023: 1.7 million (forecast) 

2022: 741,860 

2021: 586,787 

2020: 2,121,383 

2019: 2,028,763 


With the airport recording solid growth, passengers passing through Brisbane Airport during the holiday season reported no interruptions in contrast to major airports like Melbourne and Sydney. 

Brisbane Airport’s top man furthered: “Brisbane Airport has been humming all holiday period. The industry has come a long way since borders reopened last year.”

“So to see more than three million people pass smoothly through Brisbane Airport across December and January is a great sign for Queensland’s economy.”

“Our advice remains for travellers to arrive 90 minutes before a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international service. Having time up your sleeve so you arrive comfortably at the gate ready for your flight means you get away smoothly.” 

Inbound Traffic

The largest number of overseas tourists are usually from New Zealand, Britain and the USA. 

De Graff mentioned commented on the arrival of international travellers: “International tourists arriving via Brisbane Airport are spoilt for choice as they can connect to 53 domestic locations, which is more than any other Australian airport offers.”

“Queensland’s busiest routes have been from Brisbane to Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton.” 

Outbound Traffic

Brisbane Airport’s record growth comes after thousand of Queenslanders are travelling abroad for the first time since 2020, and are usually headed to New Zealand, Bali and the UK. The airport expects full international traffic recovery to be reached by 2025.

With China re-opening, the targeted year may be shortened. De Graff added, “Each time a new flight is added to the schedule our passenger numbers slowly grow.”

“We’re looking forward to Jetstar beginning flights from Brisbane to Auckland from March 27, which will be the first time there’s been a low-cost carrier servicing this very important route for Queensland.”

By Indy Udol 4 Min Read
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