Brisbane Airport set to overtake Melbourne as country’s second most important international hub
Brisbane Airport is set to overtake Melbourne as the country’s second most important international hub as Queensland becomes Australia’s global gateway.
Brisbane currently handles direct flights to and from 28 overseas destinations – just one fewer than the Victorian capital – and will add Shanghai services from November.
Brisbane Airport Corporation managing director Julieanne Alroe said they were unashamedly positioning the city as the nation’s preferred international entry point.
“We’ve taken a strong stand that tourism and other general international visitation – whether education or business – is an important growth area for the state,” she said.
Demographer Bernard Salt said Brisbane was perfectly positioned. In an exclusive research report for The Courier-Mail, he identified the city’s connectivity and relative proximity to the burgeoning Chinese market as powerful tools for economic growth.
“Brisbane is ideally placed to target a whole group of second-tier Chinese cities with populations of between five and 10 million with booming middle-classes,” Mr Salt said.
New Zealand remains the biggest market but China is a fast-growing source of international passengers through Brisbane Airport, rising 27 per cent to 151,000 last year.
BAC has a staffer based fulltime in China and is partnering with Brisbane Marketing, Tourism and Events Queensland, China Southern Airlines and others in an annual $3 million campaign.
BAC expects passenger numbers to rise from 22.1 million last year to more than 26 million in five years.
The new $1.35 billion parallel runway – centrepiece of a $3 billion BAC capital investment program – will double capacity from January 2020.
Brisbane has been transformed from Australia’s worst-performing major airport. Last month, it was voted best airport in Australia and the Pacific, and fourth-best for its size globally, in the Skytrax awards.
Ms Alroe said BAC saw itself as a gateway to the whole state and was unashamedly taking a lead role in promoting Queensland’s tourism and partnering with other groups such as the new The Star Entertainment integrated resort-casino at Queen’s Wharf.
“Having capacity and upgraded facilities that enable airlines to expand their flight schedules and have cities in southeast Queensland equipped to welcome what is an ever increasing number of international visitors cannot be underestimated,” Star’s Queensland managing director Geoff Hogg said.