Brisbane forecasts busy holiday season

(PHOTO: Shutterstock)

MRO DubaiTwo million passengers are forecast to travel through Brisbane Airport across the busy Easter and Autumn School Holiday period. The number of International Terminal passengers will be 32% higher than the same period last year and sitting at 91% of 2019 pre-Covid levels. In the Domestic Terminal, passenger numbers are forecast to be up 2% which is 94% restoration of 2019 levels.

“As the weather starts to cool in New South Wales, Victoria and in New Zealand, we’re entering the period of the year when Queensland shines,” says Brisbane Airport spokesperson, Peter Doherty.

In the Domestic Terminal, the busiest day of the holiday period will fall on the Thursday prior to Easter with 56,100 passengers forecast to travel on March 28. “Travel numbers are well within the capacity of our airport. Our advice to travellers is to arrive the normal 90 minutes prior to a domestic flight and 3 hours before an international departure which allows for a relaxed departure, while exploring our new dining options in the Domestic Terminal,” Doherty said.









Thurs 28 March – Mon 29 April






Thurs 30 March – Mon 01 May






Thurs 28 March – Mon 29 April






% Restoration vs 2019




Increase vs last year




International travel up 32% on last year

The peak period for the International Terminal will be between Friday 12 April – Sunday 14 April as school holidays begin in New Zealand. “Trans-Tasman travel has increased, with the number of flights originating from New Zealand rising from 75 this time last year to 87 per week this year. This equates to over 18,600 seats available in each direction weekly, marking a 23% increase compared to last year,” Doherty said.

But the biggest growth since Easter 2023 is on routes between Brisbane and Japan. “This time last year there were just 3 services per week to Japan, where this Easter there are 18 departures per week.  The number of passengers will be at 200% of pre-Covid levels, by far the biggest recovery of any market. Not only will it mean thousands of Japanese tourists holidaying in South East Queensland, but also lots of Queenslanders enjoying the cherry blossom season.”

An expansion of Jetstar services at Brisbane Airport is behind the boom, delivering thousands of low-cost fares into the market, and propelling Jetstar to become the 2nd biggest international airline at BNE.

International Top 5 inbound destinations

  1. New Zealand
  2. UK/Europe
  3. USA
  4. Canada
  5. Japan

International top 5 outbound destinations

  1. UK/Europe
  2. New Zealand
  3. Indonesia
  4. USA
  5. Japan

There are positive signs for Queensland regions hit hard by flooding according to Brett Fraser, Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Tourism Industry Council. “So far, forecasts are predicting a strong Easter holiday period. For some Queensland regions, the end of 2023 and beginning of 2024 were extremely tough, with consecutive severe weather events hitting the state. But right now, all forward bookings for places like Cairns and the Whitsundays, are looking very strong. There are still challenges, but the future is looking positive.”

Fraser also sees a return to “normal” travel patterns in 2024. “We’re starting to get back to pre-Covid patterns as well. Cyclical patterns that we used to see before the pandemic are starting to come back into the market. The past couple of years we’ve flattened out those cyclical parts, but we’re starting to see them again. We are seeing a genuine kick-in for bookings these holidays.”

Queensland’s tourism industry is a $22 billion industry for the state, with domestic and international visitors spending $90.1 million per day in the year ending March 2023. “We know when Brisbane Airport is busy, Queensland’s tourism industry is busy, and with the sector employing 1 in 15 of all people employed in Queensland, the Easter holidays play an important role for the State,” says Brisbane Airport’s Doherty.


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