The Bureau of Infrastucture, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) the Australian Government agency responsible for collecting data on transport trends is reporting a continued growth in passenger numbers at regional Australian Airports. Between 2010 and 2012 passenger numbers increased from 22.5 million to 24.4 million, an annual increase of 4.6 per cent. This outstrips the growth at major cities which was 3.5 per cent annually.
BITRE uses the Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) model to classify airports. The categories are Inner Remote (locations such as Bundaberg, Lismore, Albury and Hobart), Outer Remote (locations such as Cairns, Darwin, Mildura and Kalgoolie), Remote Australia (locations such as Mount Isa, Broome and Port Hedland) and Very Remote (locations such as Longreach, Bourke and Newman). 9 million passengers passed through inner and outer Regional Australia airports whilst 15.4 million passengers travelled through Remote and Very Remote airports.
A regional airport is defined as one which receives a regular public transport service. The number of regional airports is increasing from 148 in 2010, to 151 airports in 2011 to 171 airports in 2012 with the greatest growth in the number of airports in the Very Remote Australia region.
90% of passengers travelling on regional air routes were from or to major cities. The number of active air routes between regional centres, 300, is greater then those between regional centres and major cities, 176. Additionally the Australian Government is reporting air fares to regional Australia have decreased on average at about 35% over the last 10 years.
pdf BITRE Regional Airport Trends March 2013 for copy of update.
http://www.minister.infrastructure.gov.au/aa/releases/2013/March/aa054_2013.aspx for copy of media release.
http://www.health.gov.au/internet/otd/Publishing.nsf/Content/RA-intro for more information on the ASGC system