As a weakening Aussie dollar and challenging economic conditions impact the aviation sector, the Melbourne market’s resilience shone through in July with Melbourne Airport reporting a decline in passenger numbers of less than one percent.

With both international and domestic demand softening compared to the prior year, overall passenger volumes still reached more than 3.26 million.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said a number of factors including the current economic climate and trade tensions between China and the US were among the reasons behind the decline.

"Passenger numbers dropped slightly last month as more Australian travellers consider their own economic circumstances,” said Mr Strambi.

“While the weaker Aussie dollar may be preventing locals from travelling overseas, it also creates an opportunity for international tourists to fly to Melbourne – and Australians generally to holiday at home.

“Victoria has benefited from extraordinary tourism growth, especially over the past 10 years. As early signs of some softer numbers emerge we will be working with our partners in the tourism sector, including the Victorian Government, to go out and win our fair share of business and promote our regions to ensure Melbourne remains a destination of choice. 

“There are of course other industry challenges around domestic capacity constraints, which is driving up the price of airfares and supressing demand.

“We’d love to see domestic travel get a real kick out of the upcoming footy finals for the AFL and NRL, given the top of both ladders are full of the proverbial ‘foreign invaders’.”

Last month Melbourne Airport announced its new hospitality line-up featuring 11 food operators. The list of food and beverage venues includes; the AFL Kitchen and Bar, Stomping Ground Brewing Co, Scott Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie and Moors by Shane Delia.

Mr Strambi said the venues stretching across Terminals 2 to 3 would all open by the end of the year.

“Travellers flying from September onwards will get the chance to experience a number of new restaurants that all reflect Melbourne’s renowned foodie scene,” said Mr Strambi.
“Domestic passengers will be able to try exclusive craft beer at Australia’s first airport brewery, while international jetsetters will have easy access to Scott Pickett’s famous chicken rolls before boarding their flight and we look forward to delivering more upgrades to meet our traveller’s needs.”

Passenger figures for July 2019:

PassengersJuly 2019July 2018Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)3,265,3413,285,531-0.6%
Total (ex transits)3,265,341

*Monthly percentage growth compared to July 2018