Airport Decline: ACCC Report

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Sydney, Aug 14: The most recent Airport Monitoring Report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) highlights the ongoing financial struggles faced by the country’s four largest airports – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth.
The report indicates that the financial performance of these airports during the fiscal year 2021-22 remained notably below the achievements of the pre-pandemic year, 2018-19.
While a rebound in passenger numbers was observed as domestic and international borders gradually reopened in 2021-22, all four airports still reported operating losses from aeronautical services.
However, the overall profitability was maintained due to non-aeronautical operations, such as parking and leasing, compensating for these losses in aeronautical services.
The total operating profit margins of the four airports for the fiscal year 2021-22 ranged between eight percent and 42 percent.
Notably, the ACCC report shows that while Sydney’s total operating profit margins did not show an upward trend, all other airports experienced upward trajectories in their total operating profit margins. Similarly, aeronautical operating profit margins for 2021-22 displayed a decline when compared to the figures of 2018-19 for all four airports.

Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney Airports reported a decrease of 5.9 percent, 38.8 percent, 0.05 percent, and 27.4 percent respectively in their aeronautical operating profit margins.
The report also highlights the ongoing recovery in domestic and international travel, with domestic travel in the initial three quarters of 2022-23 ranging between 84 and 107 percent of the levels observed in the same period of 2018-19.
International travel, during the same comparison, stood between 61 and 71 percent.
As passenger numbers rebounded in the latter part of the 2021-22 financial year, the use of airports’ car parks also increased.
Although car parking profit margins improved in 2021-22 compared to the previous year, they generally remained lower than those of 2018-19.
In efforts to enhance transparency and oversight, the ACCC recommended an improved monitoring regime.
This entails more comprehensive reporting of data related to aeronautical, car parking, and landside access services by the four airports. Additionally, updates to measures of airport service quality were proposed.
These changes aim to provide a clearer view of market power exercise and service quality for both the ACCC and the public, ultimately benefiting airport users and the wider Australian population.

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