Brisbane had 21.5m passengers in 2023, recovery continues; Qantas the leading carrier

vj bne launch

Brisbane is not only the capital of the tourist state of Queensland, but it is also Australia’s third most populous metro area. It will welcome American Airlines – the airport’s third North American carrier – on 29 October, in time for the southern summer. It will fly daily from Dallas DFW. It follows the launch of United Airlines from Los Angeles on 1 December 2023 (4-weekly), its second Queensland route.

UA LAX-BNE launch

Brisbane had 21.5 million passengers in 2023

According to the airport’s own statistics, it welcomed about 21.5 million passengers last year. Traffic was about 10% lower than in the previous best year, 2019. This was, of course, mainly because of the international market (-25%) and not domestic (-5%). The domestic recovery is despite the loss of now-defunct Tigerair in 2020, which was Brisbane’s fourth-largest domestic operator in 2019 with 1.4 million two-way seats. It was somewhat offset by the arrival of Rex’s 737-800s.

Examining Cirium data shows that the international recovery was not helped by the end of various long-haul carriers. These included AirAsia X (whose last Brisbane flight was in 2020), Air China (2019), Etihad (2020), Hainan (2020), Hawaiian (2020), Malaysia Airlines (2023) and Royal Brunei (2020).

This was partly compensated by the arrival of Vietjet in June 2023, the first time Brisbane had non-stop Vietnam flights. It operates 5-weekly from Ho Chi Minh City. Qatar Airways, which first served the Queensland capital in the pandemic-stricken 2020, continues to do so (daily).

Brisbane passengers 2024-202

Qantas and Virgin have 63% of available seats

In northern winter 2023 (southern summer), the duo has 63% of Brisbane’s capacity. This is about ten percentage points greater than their share in Australia generally. Cirium shows that Qantas has non-stop flights to 43 destinations, including 13 international.

Athens International Airport

International routes include Wellington, which recommenced on 29 October 2023 (daily) having last been served in 2016. Honiara launched on the same day (3-weekly) and had not previously been served by Qantas.

The third-largest operator is Jetstar, the Qantas Group LCC. It has 18 routes in NW23, including five that are international. On 1 February 2024, it began flying to Seoul Incheon (3-weekly), followed the next day by Osaka Kansai (4-weekly). While it competes directly with Korean Air to Seoul (daily), Brisbane-Osaka has had no operator since 2008. They build on the 31 October 2021 launch of Tokyo NRT (daily) and the 27 March 2023 start of Auckland (daily).

Top10 Brisbane Airlines

Sydney is Brisbane’s only 1+ million market

Cirium indicates that Brisbane has one-stop and non-stop flights to 85 destinations in NW23, of which 34 are international. With over one million departing seats, Sydney is, of course, Brisbane’s leading destination.

There are 303-weekly flights in late February, which are operated by Qantas (123), Virgin (113), REX (34) and Jetstar (33). (Tigerair served Sydney until 2020.) It is Australia’s second most-served market and the 17th largest worldwide.

Top 10 Brisbane destinations 2023

Athens International Airport