Key findings:

All airports rated as either ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’ for overall quality of service

The quality of services provided by the airports can be rated as very poor, poor, satisfactory, good or excellent. Both Perth and Brisbane airports maintained their ‘good’ ratings for overall service quality during 2016 17. Perth Airport overtook Brisbane Airport to be the highest rated airport for the first time. Perth Airport’s significant improvement in quality of service ratings over the past three years has coincided with a substantial investment program.

Sydney and Melbourne airports were again rated ‘satisfactory’ for overall quality of service in 2016–17. Their ratings have remained relatively unchanged over the past few years, sitting slightly below the threshold for ‘good’.

High yielding international passengers driving growth in demand and revenue

Aggregate passenger numbers for the four monitored airports grew by 2.7 per cent to 115.2 million passengers during 2016–17. This was primarily driven by strong growth in international passengers (6.7 per cent), while domestic passengers only grew by 0.9 per cent. Both Sydney and Melbourne airports had growth of close to 4 per cent in total passenger numbers. However Perth Airport experienced a decline in passengers for the third year in a row.

The stronger growth in higher yielding international passengers (relative to domestic passengers) over the past decade has contributed to rising average aeronautical revenue collected by the airports for each of their passengers. Across the four airports combined, this figure has increased by 25.9 per cent (in real terms) over the decade. In 2016–17, aeronautical revenue per passenger for Perth Airport jumped by 7.2 per cent to $15.8, while for Sydney Airport, this measure increased by 4.4 per cent to $18.3.

Operating profits from aeronautical services increased at all airports

In this report, operating profit is measured by earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA). Operating profit margin refers to operating profit as a percentage of revenue.

Operating profits from aeronautical activities increased as a result of growing passenger numbers and airports collecting more in revenue from each passenger on average. The four monitored airports made a combined $757.6 million in operating profits from aeronautical activities in 2016–17, up 9.9 per cent. Sydney Airport grew its aeronautical operating profit by 7.1 per cent to $360.8 million, a total which was nearly twice as high as that of the next highest airport.

Aeronautical profit margins increased for all monitored airports except Sydney Airport in 2016–17. They ranged from 34.9 per cent at Perth Airport to 46.8 per cent at Brisbane Airport in 2016–17.

Profit margins for car parking remained very high across all airports

Profit margins for car parking ranged from 52.4 per cent for Perth Airport to 71.9 per cent for Sydney Airport in 2016–17. While Melbourne and Brisbane airports reported improvements to car parking margins, Perth and Sydney airports reported modest declines.

Sydney Airport made an operating profit of $97.0 million from its car parking operations in 2016–17, down slightly from the previous year. Melbourne Airport made $86.7 million and Brisbane Airport made $63.7 million. Both Perth and Sydney airports reported moderate falls in their car parking revenue in 2016–17.

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