Christmas travel and the progressive re-opening of interstate borders combined to drive a surge in Melbourne Airport’s passenger numbers in December.

Total traveller numbers for the month were up 46% on the previous year, with 1,115,233 people passing through Melbourne Airport’s four terminals.

That included 135,823 overseas travellers, which was the highest monthly figure since the international border closure in March 2020.

Melbourne Airport also recorded a record number of freight movements, with 1,696 cargo flights (964 domestic and 732 international) helping to put presents under Christmas trees and Victoria’s fresh produce on dinner tables overseas.

While passenger numbers for the first half of the financial year were double what they were in 2020, they remain down more than 89% on the corresponding period in 2019 (19,309,348 passengers).

Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Lorie Argus said the emergence of the Omicron variant would impact the remainder of the summer travel period.

“The increasing number of cases around the country has forced hundreds of airline staff into isolation and prompted thousands of holidaymakers to cancel or postpone their plans”, she said.

“The shift away from pre-departure testing for domestic travel is welcome and given the high levels of Covid-19 present in the Australian community, the federal government should now scrap the requirement for fully vaccinated international passengers to undertake pre-departure tests before flying to Australia.

“The fear of being stuck overseas because of a positive test result is a major deterrent for many Australians considering an overseas holiday, and it’s clear this requirement now provides no public health benefit and serves no useful purpose.

“Aviation’s recovery depends on passengers having certainty, and it is important that governments provide that at every possible opportunity”.

Passenger figures for December 2021:

PassengersDecember 2021December 2020Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)1,115,233763,942+46%
Total (ex transits)1,115,233

*Monthly percentage growth compared to December 2020

Passenger figures for Financial Year to December

PassengersFinancial Year 2021/22Financial Year 2020/21Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)2,131,9561,066,310+100%
Total (ex transits)2,131,956

*percentage growth compared to FY 2020/21

 For further information please contact Melbourne Airport media on +61 3 9335 3666.