More than 1.27 million travellers used Newcastle Airport in 2017/18 – a record for the Williamtown transport hub.
Figures released on Friday showed about 15,500 more people used the airport last financial year than in 2016/17, continuing an upward trend of passenger numbers.
The results came after a financial year that included a route to Adelaide being added to the airport’s portfolio and the announcement of plans to start Newcastle’s first international service in 16 years – to Auckland from November.
“Increase in passenger demand is key to airlines providing increased services to our region and we have all seen the impact of this,” CEO Dr Peter Cock said.
“Airlines are starting new routes and putting more seats into our market.”
Dr Cock predicted the Newcastle to Auckland service would deliver $6.1 million to the Hunter economy – $3.1 million in direct tourism spending – and 58 jobs.
He said events such as the Newcastle 500 race and the A-League football grand final proved the region’s ability to host big events and were “major drivers for airlines to put on additional services to cater for an influx of inbound visitors”.
”We have an amazing region that is already Australia’s largest regional economy and we anticipate these passengers numbers will keep increasing as our community grows,” he said.
Meanwhile a collective of Hunter businesses, under the banner of Newcastle Tourism Industry Group, has raised $70,000 for a marketing campaign it will roll-out in New Zealand to promote the Hunter and encourage increased visitation from Australia’s eastern neighbour.
“Short term, this is about making these initial flights successful,” spokesperson Gus Maher said.
“Whilst our role – and tourism broadly – is about bringing visitors into the city, we are also encouraging Novocastrians to travel to Auckland, tell Kiwis whilst they are there about our wonderful city and region, and bring a few back.”
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