Major city airports expect less chaos this Easter

Australia’s major city airports are ready for the Easter school holiday onslaught after learning some tough lessons in April last year.

Traveller numbers are expected to increase on those at the same time last year, which saw massive queues caused by staffing shortages and extensive flight delays.

Unlike last year when domestic flights boomed, 2023 is expected to bring more travellers heading overseas.

Staff at Brisbane airport expect capacity on international flights to jump by 77 per cent, while domestic flights will increase by just 2 per cent on 2022 levels.

The top three destinations for Queenslanders heading overseas are New Zealand, Bali and Britain.

Webjet said earlier in March that Bali accounted for almost 15 per cent of all of its international bookings for April.

“People like the idea of going overseas, so destinations like South Asia and Japan are popular due to good marketing, price, resorts, and value-added packages,” Gordon Tanner, national sales and marketing manager for travel agent Bali Tours, told TND.

The busiest days at Brisbane are forecast to be Thursday, April 6, Good Friday, April 7, and Easter Monday, April 10.

Between April 1-25, 1.4 million people are expected to pass through Brisbane airport – a jump of 13 per cent on 2022, due mainly to increasing traveller confidence in international travel.

“Easter is traditionally a very busy travel period and these holidays we’ll see thousands more people travelling than last year,” airport head of public affairs Stephen Beckett said.

“We do ask domestic travellers to continue arriving 90 minutes before domestic departures, and three hours prior for overseas travel, so that you build in a buffer to cope with busy roads, parking, terminals or delays to your Uber or taxi.

“If you’re driving, make sure you book online as far in advance as possible, to save money and time. If you’re picking up friends or family, there are dedicated waiting areas to park, and track the flight so you’re a step ahead of any changes.”

Melbourne travellers have also been advised to arrive early – but not too early.

“We encourage travellers to continue to arrive at the usual times to allow for check-in and to go through security – that’s one-two hours for domestic flights and two-three hours before an international flight,” a spokesperson said.

“Avoid arriving earlier than that because some airlines won’t have check in open prior to that. Car parks can fill up during busy periods, so we encourage people to book online in advance – although we’ll always find a way to accommodate customers.”

Extra work has been done at Melbourne airport to allow for a smooth Easter holiday season. Improvements include more staff at car parks and rostering on technicians to quickly deal with any infrastructure glitches.

“We are preparing for a smooth Easter holiday travel period and will have measures in place to facilitate efficient travel,” the spokesperson said.

Sydney airport will release its passenger forecasts for Easter next week, but is also expecting a better year than 2022.

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