COVID outbreaks, lockdowns and border closures continue to devastate Australia’s aviation sector, with Melbourne Airport welcoming just over 467,000 people in July, an 85.7 per cent drop on figures recorded in July 2019.
The airport’s latest passenger figures show that in the first month of the financial year 50,671 international travellers flew in and out of Melbourne, while 416,650 took domestic trips.
Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said passenger numbers at the start of the month were significantly higher than in the last two weeks, due to Victoria’s fifth lockdown.
“In early July Victorians could travel to most parts of Australia, and our busiest routes were to the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Hobart and Cairns,” he said.
“International travel increased on the previous month, with flights to and from New Zealand accounting for 78 per cent of trips.
“While total traveller numbers improved by 33 per cent compared to June, the trend was short lived, with Victoria plunged into its fifth lockdown during the middle of the month.
“In NSW, COVID cases continued to climb putting pressure on the entire domestic aviation network, severely affecting Melbourne-Sydney services. The spread of Delta also prompted New Zealand to pause its travel bubble with Australia, cutting off our only international quarantine-free connection.”
Mr Strambi added that while Victoria managed to crush its COVID outbreak, there was barely enough time to recover before the state entered a sixth lockdown.
“The nation’s rolling border closures obliterate air travel and damage confidence, making it almost impossible for people to plan and book interstate trips,” he said.
“The pace of the vaccine rollout needs to increase significantly so we can revive our economy and the wider tourism industry.”
In an effort to increase inoculations, Melbourne Airport is offering a $10,000 travel voucher each month for the rest of the year to a fully vaccinated Victorian. The first winner was a healthcare worker who plans to travel to the UK once borders reopen.
Passenger figures for July 2021:                       

PassengersJuly 2021July 2020Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)467,32177,774500.9%
Total (ex transits)467,321

*Monthly percentage growth compared to July 2020