Sydney Airport CEO blames high airfares and capacity restrictions for slow recovery

Sydney Australia May 19, 2014 passenger aircraft Boeing 747-400 in Qantas colour scheme getting towed to the Qantas Maintenance hangar at Sydney Kingsford Smith airport with the city  Skyline in the background, also visible some cargo Commercial Airplanes

Sydney Airport’s CEO, Geoff Culbert, has blamed its lingering domestic recovery on high airfares and limited capacity as the airport’s domestic passenger traffic sits at around 80 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers.

“The domestic passenger recovery at Sydney Airport has been stagnant since April last year, with reduced capacity and high airfares impacting people’s travelling habits,” Culbert told the Sydney Morning Herald.

Geoff Culbert, Sydney Airport CEO

Sydney Airport reported 1.7 million domestic passengers last month while the overall number sat at about 2.7 million for February.

High airfares continue to rattle aviation as data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Research Economics showed the cheapest discount economy and business class seats have been at their highest price since December. The cheapest airfares sit at about 5 per cent more than for the same period last year.

International travellers through Sydney Airport surpassed 1 million for February, which comes at about 75 per cent of the pre-COVID average. Most of these were outbound Aussie travellers.

The figures are expected to jump in the coming months as the number of Chinese nationals arrive in Australia. The number currently sits at about 25 per cent of 2019 figures.

“Momentum is starting to build in our international recovery, with China now back open to tourists after three years of border restrictions,” Culbert said. 

Melbourne Airport recorded 2.3 million travellers during February, the highest level since the pandemic but still at about 80 per cent of 2019 levels.  

While February is typically a quieter month for airports, recent Bureau of Statistics figures show the overall level of short-term international arrivals is still below 60 per cent of 2019 levels in January.

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

sydney airport

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