Melbourne Airport delivers for local jobs as the nation’s biggest air freight hub.

Melbourne Airport is leading the nation as the hub for Australian exports, with more than $1.8 billion worth of locally made produce flown out of the airport to foreign markets, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.

In the first three months of 2024, Australia’s largest curfew-free airport facilitated the export of 44,700 tonnes of local cargo, which represents 40.2% of the nation’s total air-freight export volume.

Data from Maritrade shows top product exported from Melbourne Airport by volume was fresh meat, with 15,649 tonnes delivered to foreign tables.

The most valuable export was pharmaceutical products, with more than $258.4 million worth of locally made goods sent overseas.

Much of this cargo was delivered in the belly of passenger planes, highlighting the value of Melbourne Airport’s partnership with the Victorian Government to grow international airline capacity.

Having set new monthly international passenger records in February and March, in April there were 885,365 international passengers welcomed through Melbourne Airport.

That figure is up 14 per cent on the same month in 2023 but represents only 94 per cent of the international travellers processed in April 2019.

Domestic traffic increased just 3 per cent year-on-year, reflecting the lack of extra capacity in the market and subsequent higher fares that continue to dampen demand.

Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Jim Parashos said the cargo data highlighted the significant role the airport plays in the success of Victorian industry.

“These figures represent thousands of jobs right across the state, in farms, factories and cutting-edge laboratories,” he said.

“It underlines the importance of the airport’s curfew-free operations for Victoria, with the average daily international flight worth $154 million to the state economy.

“Every new airline, route or increase in frequency we can bring to Melbourne Airport represents jobs right around our state because of the extra cargo capacity it enables.

“To ensure Melbourne Airport has sufficient capacity to cater for the state’s growing population and support our key industries, Melbourne Airport submitted a plan for a third runway to the Federal Government in February 2023.”

Passenger figures for April 2024:              

PassengersApril 2024April 2023Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)2,879,5502,710,505+6%
Total (ex transits)2,879,550

*Monthly percentage growth compared to April 2023

Passenger figures for Financial Year to date

PassengersFinancial Year 2023/24Financial Year 2022/23Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)29,609,73725,501,086+16%
Total (ex transits)29,609,737

*percentage growth compared to FY 2022/23