Melbourne airport showing a Qantas aircraft on the apron.

Melbourne Airport passengers returning to pre-lockdown levels

Passenger numbers through Melbourne Airport returned to almost 88% of pre-Covid levels in March 2023, with a new post-pandemic monthly record of more than 2.7 million people passing through the terminals.

The number of international travellers continues to climb, with 721,496 passengers representing 80% of the 895,162 figure recorded in March 2019.

That figure was helped by an increase in international capacity, with March marking the return of Cebu Pacific services to Manila, the re-launch of Qantas flights to Tokyo Haneda, the resumption of Emirates’ third daily flight to Dubai via Singapore and an increase in services to mainland China.

Capacity increases have continued in April, with Vietjet launching flights from Melbourne to Ho Chi Minh City, and Qantas to fly from Melbourne to Jakarta.

Domestic seat numbers have also increased, helped by new low-cost carrier Bonza launching flights from Melbourne, which serves as its only capital city destination and the airline’s second crew base.

Melbourne Airport Chief of Aviation Jim Parashos says the ongoing restoration of capacity would help put downward pressure on fares.

“Cost of living pressures are a real issue for many Australian families at the moment and every extra seat and service is important to help push ticket prices down and keep Australians connected,” he says.

“The Easter long weekend has shown that people still have a real desire to travel, and we expect fares will continue to moderate as more capacity is added to the market.

“We have been working closely with the airlines and their ground handlers to improve their operational resilience and reliability, and overall we’ve been pleased with how they have performed so far these holidays.”

Passenger figures for March 2023:

PassengersMarch 2023 March 2022 Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)2,711,5281,722,250+57%
Source / Melbourne Airport.

*percentage growth compared to FY 2021/22

Passenger figures for Financial Year to March

Passengers Financial Year 2022/23Financial Year 2021/22Growth (%)*
Total (ex transits)22,790,5816,253,268+265%
Source / Melbourne Airport.

*percentage growth compared to FY 2021/22