Melbourne Airport has warned global uncertainty risks slowing the recovery of Australian aviation, as airline capacity reductions and traveller concerns about the Omicron variant weighed on February passenger numbers.

The number of domestic travellers dipped compared to January but remained above one million, while international traveller numbers grew only slightly (147,998 vs 147,160).

The re-opening of the Western Australian border and key international markets such as Bali are expected to help stimulate short-term growth.

But Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi warned that despite signs of a rebound, the industry still faces numerous challenges.

“The past few years have taught us to expect the unexpected,” he said. 

“As we recover from the pandemic, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and subsequent volatility in oil prices risks putting pressure on airfares, which could stifle demand.

“We know there is plenty of pent up demand in Victoria for travel, and this long weekend we experienced our busiest day since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Given the proximity of the Easter and Anzac Day long weekends in April, we are expecting a significant number of people may use that time to take their first overseas trip in years.

“To facilitate that, it’s important that governments do all in their power to lower barriers to travel, such as removing mask mandates in domestic terminals and reducing testing requirements for fully vaccinated travellers.”

In anticipation of aviation’s recovery, Melbourne Airport is moving ahead with plans for a third runway, with the public able to make submission on the proposal through until May 16.

More information on the runway project is available at

Passenger figures for February 2022:

PassengersFebruary 2022February 2021Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)1,156,937419,122+176%
Total (ex transits)1,156,937

*Monthly percentage growth compared to February 2021

Passenger figures for Financial Year to February 

PassengersFinancial Year 2021/22Financial Year 2020/21Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)4,531,0182,134,627+112%
Total (ex transits)4,531,018

*percentage growth compared to FY 2020/21

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