July 22, 2022 | By Graeme Kemlo

Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport handled twice the number of passengers over the past financial year to June 30 2022, compared with the locked-down year before.

The latest figures showed a 110 per cent increase with almost 13 million travellers transiting through the airport – a combination of visiting friends and relatives and the resumption of business travel.

On a monthly basis, 1,842,335 domestic passengers were recorded in June 2022, which is starting to compare favourably with pre-COVID travel numbers when 1,963,625 passengers through the domestic terminals in June 2019.

Following the lifting of overseas travel restrictions, international departures have risen steadily from 367,681 during May this year to 464,926 last month.

Interestingly, the airport still recorded 25,630 international departures during June 2021, despite the city starting the month in lockdown and Australia’s international border being closed.

Commenting on the figures, Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus said the industry was working to address volatile fuel prices and airline staff shortages but the airport had taken the opportunity with lower passenger numbers to upgrade the terminals.

New passenger facilities have just opened in Terminal 4 and renovations were ongoing in Qantas Terminal 1.

She said other upgrades to cater for anticipated demand included a third runway, subject to federal government approval, expected to be in place later in the decade.

Tullamarine has also welcomed the return of Air Asia X, the Asian discount carrier’s long-haul division, to Melbourne Airport after spending a couple of years pre-pandemic flying out of Avalon Airport in Geelong. The airline, which has proved popular with business flyers by offering a premium flatbed seat for $1,999, will operate three times a week between Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur from November.