Launceston Freight And Passenger Numbers Taking Off

Michael Ferguson, Treasurer

Tasmania’s tourism and hospitality sector is a jobs powerhouse, with recent data revealing one in eight Tasmanians are employed in the industry.

Premier and Minister for Tourism and Hospitality, Jeremy Rockliff, said he was thrilled to see that Launceston Airport recorded its busiest May on record and also the biggest start to a year in the airport’s history.

“In the traditionally quieter months to record these types of numbers is wonderful news for Northern Tasmania,” the Premier said.

“To have a whopping 638,943 people come through the airport over the first five months of 2024 is quite amazing and surpasses the previous record set in 2019.”

Treasurer, Michael Ferguson, welcomed the news, saying an online shopping boom in Northern Tasmania has led to an uplift in freight at the Airport resulting in Qantas requiring a larger aircraft to cater for the increased demand.

“In May, a total of nearly 100,000 passengers made their way through Launceston Airport which represents a 3 per cent increase on pre pandemic levels,” Mr Ferguson said.

“This news is welcome for our tourism operators, business owners and the wider public who are also benefiting from a record low unemployment rate in Tasmania, with jobs still looking for people rather than people looking for jobs.”

Launceston Airport CEO Shane O’Hare said the passenger and online shopping results highlight the key role the airport plays in the lives of Northern Tasmanians.

“Being an island state, Tasmanians are acutely aware of the role aviation plays in connecting us to the mainland,” he said.

“We are proud to have doubled our direct services to the mainland since the pandemic which have provided vital connections for our community, whether that be in the form of a seat on a plane or a last-minute birthday gift.

“We often celebrate increased passenger capacity on flights, but this investment in Tasmania by Qantas and Australia Post is a reminder that air freight plays an equally important role.

“Our record passenger levels are a sign that the route network and offering we are building here at Launceston Airport is working, with the heavy lifting done throughout the pandemic to establish new services and bolster existing operations now paying dividends.”

Qantas Freight Executive Manager Igor Kwiatkowski said the upgrade to an A321 was part of the airline’s strategy to improve air freight capabilities and modernise the freight fleet.

“The A321 means we can transport up to 70% more parcels to Launceston shoppers each trip than we could on the 737s,” he said.

“The new aircraft also comes with environmental benefits, creating less emissions and using less fuel per parcel delivered.”

Australia Post Executive General Manager Network Operations Rod Barnes, said, “Our new A321 freighter represents a significant capacity boost for Launceston, one of Tasmania’s leading areas for online shopping. Launceston has experienced substantial eCommerce growth of 72.4% since 2019 and this additional capacity from our newer, more fuel efficient aircraft will be crucial in supporting the ongoing expansion of online shopping in the region.

“With capacity to carry up to 21.3 tonnes of freight, equivalent to around 21,000 parcels, this freighter will allow us to streamline our services while supporting our commitment to a more sustainable future. Australia Post continues to invest in its infrastructure and facilities to ensure we provide better and reliable deliveries for our customers around Australia.”

The Tasmanian Liberal Government is boosting the economy with a record level of job-creating infrastructure through our 2030 Strong Plan for Tasmania’s Future.

We’ve contributed more than $5 million to three infrastructure projects to Launceston Airport as part of our long-term to grow the State’s visitor economy, supporting businesses and local jobs, and it seems to be paying dividends.

/Public Release. View in full here.