Australian airports’ revenues soaring higher

Peter Terlato 6 March 2017

Aeroplane at Sydney Airport

Service quality improves but still similar to a decade ago.

A new report shows Australian airports are receiving significantly higher revenues per passenger than a decade ago, and despite achieving solid service appraisals, ratings aren't much different than 2005/06.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC) annual Airport Monitoring Report found Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane airports all received a "good" service quality rating in 2015/16.

This is the second consecutive year of improvement in service quality for Perth Airport.

Statistics show these airports are enjoying considerably higher aeronautical revenue per passenger than they were ten years earlier in 2005/06. The ACCC estimates these airports collected $1.57 billion more in revenue from airlines over the last decade than if average prices remained the same in real terms.

Brisbane Airport increased aeronautical revenue per passenger by 65.6% in real terms since 2005/06. Perth's revenue rose 42.9%, Melbourne was up 30.9% and Sydney increased 16% in the last decade.

These increased charges have been used to cover increased flying costs and augment profits.

“Despite these much higher revenues per passenger, ratings of service quality are not materially different from those seen a decade ago,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

In addition, the report highlighted car parking profit margins remain elevated, particularly in Sydney, where the airport receives 73.1 cents for every dollar of revenue.

However, consumers are taking advantage of discounts for booking online, especially long-term parking.

"Booking online can deliver the best value car parking deals. In comparison, those who do not pre-book must pay drive-up prices which can be double that of online prices," Sims said.

These airports also impose costly access charges for taxis, buses and off-airport car park operators.

Australian airport passenger growth rose 3.4% year-on-year in 2015/16 as a result of robust international visitor numbers, particularly from China.

Australian airlines' arrivals, departures and cancellations figures showed immense improvement month-on-month in January across all routes, while rivals Qantas and Virgin Australia were fairly evenly matched.

Choosing the right time to fly can cut costs but early and late flights are likelier to incur cancellations.

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