Sunshine Coast Airport finished 2013 on a high with an increase in December traffic of 16%, and healthy increases of 9% in passengers and 10% in seat capacity for the year.
Sunshine Coast Council’s Aviation Portfolio Councillor Stephen Robinson said the growth in passenger numbers shows a strong recovery for the airport and the destination after a couple of tough years.
“The passenger figures for 2013 confirm the popularity of the Sunshine Coast as a domestic and international destination with both our Sydney and Melbourne domestic routes showing positive growth for the year, and Melbourne growing by an impressive 31%,” he said.
“Internationally, the Auckland route grew by 46% with the season extended from 12 to 17 weeks in 2013. Future growth has now been secured with more flights and increased frequencies operating over the next three years.”
Sunshine Coast Airport General Manager, Peter Pallot said the 2013 passenger numbers were a satisfying reward for the hard work put in by the airport and our tourism partners.
“There has been strong growth in international markets with locals now able to access New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, the US, Canada and beyond from Sunshine Coast Airport and more capacity will coming on line over the next few years,” he said.
“Whilst our traditional markets of Sydney and Melbourne are doing well, we continue working hard to encourage our airline partners to service the Coast with flights north and an early morning Sydney service.”
Sunshine Coast Destination Ltd CEO, Simon Ambrose said the Sunshine Coast continued to be a safe and popular holiday destination for intrastate visitors.
“With increased awareness and promotion of the direct flights, the Sunshine Coast experienced a surge in visitation for the year ending September 2013 from New South Wales,” he said.
“In particular we were delighted to see Sydney up 58% from the previous year. This surge also was responsible for driving an increase of 8.2% of expenditure within the Sunshine Coast tourism region to total $1.9 billion.
“Sunshine Coast Destination and Sunshine Coast Airport are strong partners and together we will continue to work to promote the region to grow existing services and explore new route opportunities to achieve the 2020 targets set by state government,” Mr Ambrose said.