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AAP

2013-01-18

Australia's two biggest airports experienced substantial growth in 2012, with a record number of passengers passing through Sydney Airport.

Sydney Airport served a record 36.9 million passengers in 2012, a 3.6 per cent increase on the previous year, while Melbourne Airport's passenger numbers exceeded 29 million, a five per cent increase on 2011.

December was Sydney's busiest month, with passenger numbers growing by 5.2 per cent.

Sydney Airport chief executive Kerrie Mather said international passenger numbers grew by 5.3 per cent and domestic over 2.7 per cent for the year.

"It was exciting to see such a significant increase in both international and domestic low cost carrier capacity, in particular Scoot, Jetstar and AirAsia X internationally and the expansion of domestic services by Jetstar and Tiger," she said.

She said the biggest international growth was from Malaysia and Singapore with incoming passengers increasing by 59 per cent and 34 per cent respectively.

Outbound international passengers from Sydney Airport grew by 5.9 per cent for the year, while inbound international numbers increased by 4.8 per cent in 2012.

Melbourne Airport chief executive Chris Woodruff said continuing international passenger growth and increased capacity on domestic services had led to the number of passengers reaching 29,297,387 in the Victorian capital in 2012.

There had been an increase of six per cent in international passengers compared to 2011 with strong growth from New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

"During the year, airlines introduced significant capacity increases on domestic routes which stimulated demand, Mr Woodruff said.

"We see domestic capacity growth continuing, and passengers are certainly making the most of the competitive market, particularly in the last few months of 2012."