Santa is coming and so are the planes!

Website Banner - 1200 x 627

The first sign of tinsel in the shops, empty shelves where the Christmas lights once were. The signs are unmistakable: Santa is coming, and so are the planes back to our skies.

According to Airservices Australia, the organisation responsible for safely managing 11 per cent of the world’s airspace, Christmas 2022 is going to be a lot different this year.

Airservices Australia CEO Jason Harfield said Christmas 2022 marks the first time the entire country has the green light to celebrate Christmas just like every other year before the Pandemic.

Australians are returning to the skies in droves.

“You only have to look up any time from now to see the signs of Christmas coming this year,’’ Mr Harfield said. “Christmas is coming with our friends and relatives flying in to stay, the gifts purchased well in advance coming from interstate and overseas, and the last-minute updates arriving in time for Christmas dinner.’’

Mr Harfield said this Christmas will be the busiest in three years, with an expected 20 to 30 per cent more flights across the four major aerodromes – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – compared to last year.

However, air travel is yet to return to pre-Pandemic levels in the major capitals. Expected air traffic at those destinations is forecast to be around five per cent below 2019 levels.

“International traffic is still recovering, so we are seeing traffic levels in the major cities still somewhat below pre-COVID levels,’’ Mr Harfield said.

Airservices projections show that traffic into regional airports including Rockhampton, Townsville, Canberra, Newcastle and the Sunshine Coast will continue to surpass pre-COVID levels by up to 44 per cent.

Traffic at Ballina-Byron Bay is expected to come down from the 2021 peak , which was likely driven by state border closures and restrictions between Queensland and NSW.

“Since the onset of the Pandemic, traffic to regional destinations has starkly increased, partly due to international borders being closed and people holidaying at home,’’ Mr Harfield said.

“State borders were also closed, and people were not willing to travel via major hubs. Consequently, there has been a lot more direct traffic to and from regional centres. Despite now being in COVID-normal, these trends have continued throughout 2022. The exception is Ballina, where traffic is still up from pre-COVID, it is not at the peak it was in 2021.’’

Airservices has developed WebTrak a website where travellers, Christmas fans and anyone interested in air traffic movements can go to see where aircraft fly at different locations around Australia. On WebTrack, you can also reflect on historical trends and patterns of aircraft movements.

Five days to Christmas 2022, Australian air traffic projection figures

Airport2022 movements (5 days to Christmas)Compared to 2021Compared to 2019
Alice Springs68110%78%
Gold Coast649117%95%
Sunshine Coast19898%138%

About Airservices
Airservices Australia is a government-owned organisation responsible for the safe and efficient management of 11% of the world’s airspace and the provision of aviation rescue fire fighting services at Australia’s busiest airports. We connect people with their world safely – linking family and friends, generating economic activity, creating jobs and facilitating trade and tourism.

Posted on: November 29, 2022

More news

Related topics

Airservices provides safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry.

Airservices Australia releases Progress Report on Workplace Culture

Airservices Australia has today released a progress report on its workplace culture undertaken by Elizabeth Broderick & Co. (EB&Co). The report, as well as Airservices’ response plan and a message from our Chief Executive Officer Jason Harfield, can be read here.

Airservices Australia reveals second Australian Aviation Network Overview

Airservices Australia has today released its second deep-dive report on trends in the Australian aviation sector for the first two months of Financial Year 2024. Designed to inform discussion among industry stakeholders, the Australian Aviation Network Overview offers a snapshot of key social and economic trends in the sector, our regional context and the performance […]

Airservices Australia finalises new Community Engagement Standard following national consultation

Airservices Australia has worked closely with the community and aviation industry to finalise a new national engagement approach for the development and implementation of flightpath changes. The newly completed national Community Engagement Standard is the culmination of direct feedback gathered at 13 community engagement drop-in sessions around Australia, and 10 webinars, held from 3 May […]

Airservices Australia invests in fire crew safety with next-generation hybrid fire trucks for Western Sydney International Airport

Airservices Australia’s frontline Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) services will be equipped with next-generation hybrid electric aviation rescue fire fighting vehicles at the new Western Sydney International Airport (WSIA), providing improved safety outcomes for fire crews while shortening response times. Airservices is one of the first international customers to secure the rights to purchase four […]