Airport Profile: Cairns Airport continues to shine

Cairns Airport is the major international and domestic gateway to far north Queensland and is operated by Cairns Airport Pty Ltd, which is owned and operated by North Queensland Airports. A major tourist destination, Cairns Airport urgently hosts 14 airlines operating both domestically and internationally, with 24 airlines via codeshares.

Where’s the traffic coming from?

Traffic to the airport has grown pretty consistently every year since it has been operational with increases ranging from anywhere up to 7 or 8%.

Cairns Airport annual traffic passenger numbers from 2010 to 2017

Source: CAPA –  Centre for Aviation and BITRE

Cairns Airport system seats by airline w/c 03-Jul-2017

Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Cairns Airport system departing seats by country w/c 03-Jul-2017

Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Cairns Airport network map w/c 03-Jul-2017

Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Recent news:

  • China Southern Airlines to launch Guangzhou-Cairns service

China Southern Airlines recently announced plans to launch three times weekly Guangzhou-Cairns service from Dec-2017, with the service to contribute AUD44.2 million in economic value to the Cairns economy and 286 jobs. Cairns Airport CEO Norris Carter said: “These flights from Guangzhou will provide more convenient access to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef for the world’s largest visitor source market. In addition it opens up the ‘Canton Route’ for travellers to connect from Europe through Cairns”. He also expects the service to open new opportunities for Cairns’ primary produce to be exported to China, which will tap “into this enormous market through the China Australia Free Trade Agreement”.

  • SilkAir to use first 737 MAXs for Hiroshima, Cairns, Bangalore and Hyderabad services

CAPA – Centre for Aviation, in a report entitled: ‘SilkAir to use new 737 MAX fleet to improve premium product, launch Hiroshima and upgrade Cairns’, stated (28-Jun-2017) SilkAir will use its initial batch of Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft to commence Hiroshima service in late Oct-2017 and operate Cairns, Bangalore and Hyderabad services. The carrier is expected to receive three 737 MAX 8s by the end of 2017 and will phase out its remaining 13 A320 family aircraft over the next few years as more MAXs are delivered. The 737 MAX 8 provides Singapore Airlines Group with a platform to access long thin markets that are too small for widebodies and cannot be economically served with current generation narrowbody aircraft. The MAX also opens longer routes that cannot be operated with 737-800s due to payload restrictions and improves the economics of longer routes. As the carrier’s 737 MAX fleet expands, there will likely be an increase in services of six to eight hours duration. SilkAir’s 737 MAX 8s will be configured with 12 business class and 144 economy seats, compared to 12 business and 150 economy on its 737-800s.

  • Jin Air to resume Seoul Incheon-Cairns service in Dec-2017/Jan-2018

Jin Air announced (28-Jun-2017) plans to operate 12 return seasonal Seoul Incheon-Cairns services in Dec-2017 and Jan-2018, as confirmed by Cairns Airport. The carrier is returning to Cairns after selecting the city as its first destination in Australia in 2016, with Cairns Airport CEO Norris Carter describing the services as “one of the most successful ever to operate into Cairns Airport, with every flight almost at capacity”. The airport said it is continuing to work with Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Tourism Australia to obtain year round service on the sector.

  • SilkAir to increase Singapore-Cairns frequency in Nov-2017

SilkAir announced (23-Jun-2017) plans to increase Singapore-Cairns frequency to five times weekly on a year round basis from Nov-2017, according to Cairns Airport. The airline will temporarily operate the route five times weekly in Jul/Aug-2017. SilkAir manager Cairns Ravindran reported continued growth in demand on the route.

Recent results:

Cairns Airport recently reported the following traffic highlights for May-2017:

  • Passengers: 387,100, +3.6% year-on-year;
  • Aircraft movements: 3790, -1.2%.
  • 9.5% increase in intl traffic for May-2017