Melbourne Airport international numbers soar past pre-pandemic levels

In a first for an Australian capital city airport, Melbourne Airport has exceeded 100% of pre-pandemic capacity in the international market.

In the month of December more than 1.31 million seats will be available for international passengers to and from Melbourne Airport, which represents 101% of the 1.29 million seats available in 2019.

It comes as Melbourne Airport says Bonjour to Aircalin for the first time in more than three years with the airline resuming services between Melbourne and Noumea.

Aircalin will operate three flights per week from Melbourne to Noumea on a new Airbus A320Neo with the ability to connect to the islands of Lifou, Isle of Pines or Ouvea on the same ticket.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said the international milestone was a culmination of years of hard work by everyone at the airport.

“Covid tested the fabric of every business and it’s a credit to the team here that two years after the Australian border re-opened, we are the nation’s first airport to exceed pre-pandemic international capacity,” she said.

“This result was only made possible because of our close partnership with the Victorian government, and I’d like to thank them for the support they’ve provided to attract more airlines and aviation activity to Melbourne.

“The return of Aircalin means we are back to our pre-pandemic level of 36 international airlines flying to Melbourne Airport, and we look forward to adding to that number in the not-too-distant future.

“There is a huge demand for flights to tropical holiday destinations and given New Caledonia’s proximity, we expect these services will be very popular with Victorians.

“Pleasingly, approximately 10% of our current international capacity is being operated by new airlines or on new routes, which means consumers and exporters have more choice about when and where to fly.

“We know cost of living pressures are being felt by our passengers and the broader increase in capacity across our international network will assist in putting downward pressure on airfares.

“There is still latent demand in the market, and we believe a liberalising of the Bilateral Air Service Agreements with a move towards open skies policies would give airlines the certainty to expand operations into Melbourne.”

Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Steve Dimopoulos welcomed the milestone and said Victoria is a fantastic place to visit.

“When these flights land in Melbourne our hotels, restaurants, retailers and attractions get a huge tourism boost – right across the state,” he said.

“Our hospitality and tourism operators are ready to welcome travellers from across the globe and provide them with some of the best Australia has to offer – at the same time boosting local jobs across Victoria.”

Passenger figures for November 2023:

 Passengers                                            November 2023                                        November 2022                                         Growth (%)*                                         
Total (ex transits)2,966,0762,539,619+17%
Total (ex transits)2,966,076

*Monthly percentage growth compared to November 2022

Passenger figures for Financial Year to date

 Passengers                                           Financial Year 2023/24                                         Financial Year 2022/23                                         Growth (%)*                                         
Total (ex transits)14,628,25512,423,469+18%
Total (ex transits)14,628,255

*Percentage growth compared to FY 2022/23