Blue skies as Aussie airports back in the black

QANTAS plane at Brisbane Airport. | Newsreel
Brisbane Airport has recorded its first profit for aeronautical operations since the pandemic. | Photo: Mt Curado. (iStock)

Australian airports have emerged from COVID-induced hibernations and recorded their first profits for aeronautical operations since the pandemic.

Brisbane Airport joined Melbourne, Perth and Sydney airports in returning to the black in 2022-23, the first for a full financial year since the end of travel restrictions.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Airport Monitoring Report showed the four airports reported a total of 100.7 million passengers passing through in 2022-23, up 127.4 percent from the previous year.

However, the number of domestic passengers was still 10.4 percent below 2018-19 (pre-pandemic) levels, and international passengers 31 percent below.

ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said Australia’s four largest airports reported a significant increase in aeronautical revenues and a return to aeronautical operating profits in 2022-23, as interstate and international travel restrictions ended.

“The airports stayed open during the pandemic and continued to incur some aeronautical expenses, without their usual level of accompanying revenues. As passengers returned in 2022-23, aeronautical revenues increased more than expenses, which lifted profit margins closer to pre-pandemic levels,” Ms Brakey said.

Perth Airport recorded an aeronautical operating profit margin of 34.6 percent in 2022-23, followed by Sydney Airport with 29.1 percent, Brisbane Airport 28.8 percent, and Melbourne Airport 22.9 percent.

Perth Airport’s aeronautical operating profit margin was slightly higher than the 34.2 percent it recorded in 2018-19, but Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne’s were lower than 2018-19.

The airports reported a significant increase in both revenues and operating profits for their car parking operations in 2022-23.

The four airports collectively earned $337 million in operating profits from car parking activities, an increase of 168 percent on the previous year.

While all reported operating profit margins above 60 percent for car parking, Brisbane reported the largest profit margin at 72.5 percent.

Infographic on Australian airports. | Newsreel