Adelaide airport is keen to attract new direct services, as it seeks to divert Adelaide-bound traffic from flowing through other Australian airports.

The airport's head of aviation business development Jonathan Cheong tells FlightGlobal that overall traffic from Asia to Adelaide is growing at a rate of 6% on a year-on-year basis, with Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam identified as markets with the strongest growth potential.

Due to a small number of overseas connections, however, he notes that around 30% of Adelaide-bound traffic funnels through other Australian airports. This also affects its cargo potential as perishable goods from the South Australia state are being sent to other cities for export.

He adds that the state's growing economy, a strong inbound flow of investment, its large overseas student population, and the size of its Asian diaspora meant that there is a need for new and additional international air services.

"Even though we have Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, China Southern Airlines, and Cathay Pacific [flying into Adelaide], there are still people travelling through Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. That means, we need more capacity to Asia to drive the leakage [back to Adelaide]," says Cheong.

Cirium schedules data shows that Adelaide is connected to nine international destinations, and 20 domestic points. Qantas, Virgin Australia, and Jetstar are the top three operators out of the airport.

Asked if Adelaide airport is seeing any benefits from the introduction of newer generation aircraft, Cheong pointed out that the different carriers have chosen to either raise capacity or deploy the right aircraft based on demand to Adelaide.

One such example is Singapore Airlines deploying higher capacity Airbus A350-900s used for regional services in place of A330-300s in December 2018. Fiji Airways also previously deployed the Boeing 737 Max 8 to replace the 737-800, before the aircraft type was grounded following the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 on 10 March.

In terms of network development, discussions are now underway with an Asian full service carrier to raise its Adelaide frequency, while Malaysia's Malindo Air will begin a Kuala Lumpur-Denpasar-Adelaide service in mid-April. It is also keen to attract low-cost carriers to fly into Adelaide.

Cheong also stressed that any new or additional services would not lead to a network cannibalisation by the existing carriers.

Source: Cirium Dashboard