Passenger numbers rebuilding as new Townsville-Darwin service starts

March 28, 2022

Townsville Airport passenger numbers are steadily rebuilding to pre-COVID-19 levels, as flight connections through the gateway to North Queensland continue to grow.  

A new Qantas service connecting Townsville and Darwin is the latest to take off, with three additional weekly services linking the northern Australian hubs from today. The Townsville-Darwin service is the last of the four new E190 aircraft routes Qantas announced last year for Townsville Airport to start operating.

Townsville Airport General Manager Brendan Cook welcomed the beginning of the new service, saying there were now connections between the two cities six days a week.

“This will enhance connectivity and provide more choice for customers flying on this route,” he said.

“This route caters well to business and government travellers, as well as holidaymakers seeking a convenient interstate getaway. We expect these flights will be popular as we come into the dry season in both locations.

“Townsville and Darwin are both major Northern Australian hubs, and Darwin is a base for ‘bucket list’ destinations like Kakadu National Park, Katherine Gorge and Litchfield National Park.”

Mr Cook said the new service and others in the pipeline would continue to boost passenger numbers closer to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Last month, Townsville Airport passenger numbers reached 68 per cent of usual capacity, up from about 55 per cent of pre-COVID numbers in January.  

“The outlook for the airport and the tourism businesses we support is positive. In December we welcomed new Qantas Sydney and Melbourne flights,” Mr Cook said.

New services come as work is set to get underway on the final phase of the Townsville Airport terminal refresh, involving an upgrade to the existing airside retail areas. The upgrade of the café and news and gifts store is scheduled to be complete in early June, and follow the completion of the check-in and security screening upgrade, and the refurbishment of Maggie’s Café.

Mr Cook said the upgrades were improving the airport experience for passengers.

“This has been a major project for the Townsville Airport team and our contractor Core Developments NQ, and we are extremely pleased with the result,” he said.

The project has also opened up space for a large-scale public artwork in the terminal, and more than 20 expressions of interest were received to create a unique work for the space. The successful artist will be appointed mid-April and the work will be in place later this year.

The Federal Government contributed $9.15 million to the project, associated with the upgrade of security screening infrastructure.