Australia has one of the highest per capita traveling populations in the world — Australians are constantly flying out of the country to locales like southeast Asia, Japan and the United States, and travelers seeking sun, surf and relaxation are flying in at the same rate. Here are Australia’s ten busiest international airports by passenger volume:
Located on the Botany Bay in a suburb of Sydney, the Sydney Airport has many distinctions in airline history, including being the oldest continuously operating commercial airport in the world. It is the primary hub for Quantas, the largest domestic airline in Australia, and serves over 35 million passengers annually. The airport is the only gateway into Sydney from the outside world.
Although there are four airports that serve the area around Australia’s fastest growing city, Melbourne Airport is the only international airport in the region. It serves over 32 million passengers annually, and also acts as an air freight hub for Australia’s southern region. It serves as the headquarters for Australian Air Express and Toll Priority and handles more domestic freight plane movements than any other airport in Australia.
Over 21 million passengers travel through this bustling transport hub in Queensland annually, making it the third busiest international airport in Australia. Many major airlines have plane maintenance facilities in Brisbane Airport, and Virgin Australia utilizes Brisbane as a primary domestic transport hub.
Although it is the considered one of the busiest airports in Australia, Perth only handles about 12 million passengers per year, which is a steep plunge from the top three. Out of the main international airports in Australia, it is the only one located on the western coast of the country. Perth is a very popular hub for low-budget international airlines from countries such as the United States and Singapore.
Also located in southern Australia in a similar region as Melbourne, Adelaide is considered the fifth busiest Australia international airport with over 7 million passengers served each year. In recent years, Adelaide has experienced a traffic growth boom that has largely been the result of increased international traffic — in fact, regional route passenger numbers have declined over the same period. Adelaide is often rated the country’s best airport in terms of customer satisfaction.
Gold Coast Airport
The Gold Coast Airport, located on the southern border of Queensland, is Australia’s busiest airport not located in a state capital city. Because of its proximity to Surfer’s Paradise on the eastern seaboard, it is the recipient of a great deal of travel traffic from beach-bound tourists. The airport handles nearly 6 million passengers per year.
The seventh busiest airport in Australia is Cairns, located in Queensland. Cairns was a major hub for Australia Airlines before its bankruptcy and merger with Qantas, and it remains a significant base for search and rescue military helicopter missions and other helicopter organizations.
Located just outside of Australia’s national political capital, Canberra Airport services over 3 million passengers each year. Curiously, although it is classified as an international airport by the Australian government, no international flights departed from Canberra between the collapse of Brindabella Airlines and the announcement by Singapore Airlines that it would commence flights to southeast Asia in 2016.
Hobart International Airport
The only airport on this list located on the island settlement of Tasmania, Hobart Airport handles nearly 2 million passenger movements each year, narrowly making it the ninth busiest airport in the country. Hobart is one of the only airports in the world that regularly offers flights to Antarctica.
Darwin International Airport
Darwin is the only airport that serves the country’s Northern Territory, and barely squeaks onto this list at 1.5 million passengers per year. Before the increased flight flight range of modern aircraft, Darwin served as an important refueling point for airplanes that were continuing on to points in mainland Asia and Oceania. It currently supports both domestic and limited international flights. It won’t make any short lists of major airports in Australia, but Darwin is indispensable to residents of the Northern Territory.