Airport Profile: Townsville Airport

Townsville Airport is a regional airport serving the city of Townsville, Queensland, Australia. Wholly-owned and operated by Queensland Airports Limited, Townsville is operated under a Joint User Agreement with the Australian Department of Defence.

Where’s the traffic coming from?

Despite impressive growth in its early years, traffic to the airport has plateaued since 2010, with annual traffic ranging from 1.5-1.6 million.

Townsville Airport annual traffic passenger numbers from 2010 to 2017

Source: CAPA –  Centre for Aviation and BITRE

Townsville Airport system seats by airline w/c 24-Jul-2017

Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Townsville Airport system seats by aircraft model w/c 24-Jul-2017

Source: CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Townsville Airport network map w/c 24-Jul-2017

Source: Google, CAPA – Centre for Aviation and OAG

Recent news:

Tigerair Australia launches four times weekly Melbourne-Townsville service

Tigerair Australia launched four times weekly Melbourne-Townsville service on 22-Jun-2017, utilising A320 equipment. The service will provide more than 1400 seats each week and is expected to inject AUD12.5 million (USD9.43 million) p/a into the Townsville economy. Tigerair Australia head of communications Vanessa Regan stated the carrier is thrilled by the way Townsville had embraced Tigerair since the new services were announced earlier in 2017.

New Air Niugini Port Moresby-Townsville service develops Townsville connections to Asia

Townsville Airport welcomed the launch of Port Moresby-Townsville service by Air Niugini in Mar-2017. The new service adds 15,800 seats between Port Moresby and Townsville p/a, as well as offering connections to Manila via Port Moresby for Townsville Airport. Air Niugini will also provide Townsville with ‘one stop to Asia’ connection to Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and other regional destinations.

Qantas declines to pass passenger levy to fund upgrade to Townsville Airport

Qantas stated it would not pass on an AUD3 (USD2.25) passenger levy to fund upgrades to Townsville Airport. The passenger terminal upgrade is expected to include expanded retail, upgraded check-in systems and improved seating, however is currently on hold as the airport and local government seek to persuade Qantas to pass on the cost to passengers. Qantas stated that Townsville Airport should fund the upgrade itself and that the carrier would always avoid driving up costs and damaging their ability to attract passengers.

Qantas: Townsville service may be ‘unsustainable’ if airport charges increase

Qantas stated Townsville Airport’s proposed increase in airport charge to fund an expansion project may cause “our Townsville services [to be] unsustainable”. Qantas insists “we need to get the balance right between cost and practicality so the upgrades don’t go beyond what’s required in the short term”. Townsville Airport CEO Kevin Gill confirmed “we are not asking Qantas or any other airline partner to pay anything more than their fair share”.

Recent results:

Queensland Airports Limited reaches 8.2m pax milestone for FY2016/17

Queensland Airports Limited (QAL) reached (21-Jul-2017) reported record traffic of 8.2 million passengers during FY2016/17 (year ended 30-Jun-2017), with the 2.4% year-on-year increase coming despite a fall in traffic at three of its four airports. Gold Coast Airport traffic grew 3.3%, with Townsville Airport, Mouth Isa Airport and Longreach Airport all recording declines. QAL CEO Chris Mills commented that economic conditions “are challenging right now in many parts of regional Queensland” but the airport operator is optimistic FY2017/18 will see recovery, with Townsville receiving new services and Mount Isa Airport reporting five consecutive months of growth since Feb-2017. Mr Mills added: “Longreach Airport’s apparent decline was exacerbated due to a change in the way its transit passengers are recorded, which if adjusted would actually reflect slight growth year on year”.

QAL’s traffic outlook for Townsville Airport remains positive

Queensland Airports Limited (QAL) CEO Chris Mills stated (21-Jul-2017) traffic outlook for Townsville Airport “is positive following the recent launch of services to Melbourne with Tigerair and Port Moresby with Air Niugini”. Tigerair reported strong demand on Melbourne-Townsville route, “particularly around school and public holidays”, added Mr Mills.