Australia's Queensland Airports MD Dennis Chant, speaking at the CAPA Australia Pacific Aviation Summit, said there isn't much "appetite" from carriers looking to enter secondary markets such as Townsville, Newcastle or Sunshine Coast.
Queensland Airports says not much appetite for secondary airports like Townsville and Sunshine Coast
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Australia’s Gold Coast Airport: AirAsia X and Hong Kong Airlines drive rapid international growth
Australia’s Gold Coast Airport is enjoying rapid traffic growth, driven by new and expanded international services. The airport recently started construction on a new terminal which will provide an enhanced level and service, and more widebody parking spots, to support anticipated further international growth.
Gold Coast traffic was up 8% to 6.3 million passengers in the year ending 30-Jun-2016, with international traffic up 18% to 1.05 million. Gold Coast had the fastest international growth in FY2016 among Australia’s six main international airports.
AirAsia X and Hong Kong Airlines have accounted for most of the recent growth. AirAsia X has added capacity on Kuala Lumpur-Gold Coast while launching Gold Coast-Auckland. Hong Kong Airlines launched services to Gold Coast in early 2016 and is already planning to increase capacity.
Gulf airlines in Australia/New Zealand: 2017 could surpass 2016's record growth
Qatar Airways' casual remark in Jan-2016 that it would launch nonstop service to Auckland has resulted in nearly two years of accelerated growth as competitors look to pre-empt Qatar. That, in turn, is driving Qatar to build its presence in Australia and New Zealand – which is disproportionately small compared to the presence of Emirates and Etihad. In Feb-2017 Qatar will finally launch nonstop service to Auckland, making that air service the world's longest flight. After the launch of flights to Australia's secondary city of Adelaide in May-2016, Qatar intends to open service to another smaller market – Canberra.
2016 was the most prominent year for Gulf airlines growing in Australia and New Zealand. Excluding Qatar's proposed Canberra service, and other services under consideration, 2017 will be the third largest year for growth, but depending on how commercial and aeropolitical matters evolve, 2017 could surpass 2016 for growth. So far, there will be more absolute growth from Qatar than Emirates in 2017, by comparison with 2016.
In Australia/NZ Gulf airlines have doubled their presence between 2012 and 2017. In Australia/New Zealand, by 2020, Gulf airlines could create the presence of two Singapore Airlines, an operation which established itself over many decades. Gulf growth has broader implications as their mostly European traffic flows challenge historical Australia-Europe hubs in Asia.