Total passenger numbers at Melbourne Airport for January 2021 were just over 649,000, an 80 per cent drop on January last year.
Small COVID clusters and the resulting restrictions in New South Wales and Victoria impacted domestic travel, as did the five-day lockdown in Western Australia.
Last month the Victorian government announced a new travel permit system to help stop the spread of the virus.
Now every Australian must apply to enter the state, and access is granted based on a traffic light system, which reviews the risk in a particular area.
Pleasingly, Australia’s COVID vaccine rollout is scheduled to commence at the end of February, taking us one step closer to normality.
Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said managing inevitable outbreaks and building traveller confidence was key in 2021.
“Even with the vaccine commencing in February, we expect that there will continue to be small outbreaks across the country. State Governments have built robust tracking and tracing capacity, and we need to have the confidence that outbreaks can be managed quickly and effectively,” said Mr Strambi.
“Unfortunately the ongoing approach of snap lockdowns and border closures continue to wreak havoc on traveller confidence. What we know is that domestically people are more nervous about quarantine or being stuck interstate than they are of the pandemic itself. The current conditions make it very difficult to forward plan holidays and trips to see family and friends.
“Australia is in a much better position than most other parts of the world and we know there’s pent-up demand to fly around our nation.
“With vaccines starting to roll out in the coming months, it is time to start having a different conversation about how we manage borders as a nation. We support the National Cabinet initiative to reconsider how they assess outbreak risk, and the policy responses governments then take given the low levels of infection, the maturity of our contact tracing and testing systems and the vaccinations of front line workers and vulnerable populations.
Passenger figures for January 2021:
|Passengers||January 2021||January 2020||Growth (%)*|
|Total (ex transits)||649,195||3,292,960||-80.3%|
|Total (ex transits)||649,195|
*Monthly percentage growth compared to January 2020
Passenger figures for Financial Year to January 2020/21
|Passengers||Financial Year 2020/21 (‘000)||Financial Year 2019/20 (‘000)||Growth (%)*|
|Total (ex transits)||1,715,505||22,602,308||-92.4%|
|Total (ex transits)||1,715,505|
*percentage growth compared to FY 2019/20