It’s clear much of Australia spent lockdown planning their next overseas holiday.

What a difference a year makes!

The first real full-year indication of just how quickly Australia’s travel industry sprang back into action has been released in the latest Australian Government International Airline Activity report.

Data for the full-year ending October 2022, reveals that as Sydney and Melbourne ended their final pandemic-induced lockdowns in October 2021, travel planning began in earnest despite the country’s national borders still being closed at that point.

Since then, as an industry, travel could best be described as a runaway freight train.

Passenger numbers for the month of October 2022 saw 2.17 million travellers board flights to or from Australia.

While still down significantly on the 3.58 million recorded in October 2019, the figure was an astronomical 4710.4% up on October 2021 when only 46,145 departed from or arrived in Australia, just as residents in Greater Sydney and Melbourne were regaining their freedom.

For the year ending October 2022, over 14.5 million passengers moved through Australia’s international airports, which compared to the 1.1 million a year earlier, marked a 1266.9% year-on-year increase.

While the meteoric increase is a remarkable statistic when viewed in its own light, the result is still only 65% of the figure recorded in the year-ending October 2019, prior to the pandemic.

Airlines responded to the demand as best they could, with 10,922 flights taking off or landing in October 2022.

Qantas and Jetstar were the fastest to respond to the exploding demand, together accounting for 29.9% of the available market while other airlines mobilised their fleet. Singapore Airlines claimed 12.1%, followed by Air New Zealand with 10% and Emirates with 6.9%.

Australians were also strongly tempted by the low-cost carriers in October 2022, with Cebu Pacific, Indonesia AirAsia, Jetstar and Scoot holding 17.9% of the total traveller market over the month – up from 15% in October 2019.