DECLINE: A new report has shown thousands of less passengers are travelling by air.
DECLINE: A new report has shown thousands of less passengers are travelling by air. Paul Braven GLA170717ALLIANCE

Gladstone Airport passenger numbers drop by thousands

GLADSTONE Airport had 20,000 fewer passengers during the 2018-19 financial year compared to the year prior, a new report has shown.

Gladstone Airport Corporation's Statement of Corporate Intent showed in 2018-19, 244,045 passengers went through Gladstone Airport, compared to 261,510 in 2017-18.

There were also 41 less flights compared to the year prior.

The report, presented to the airport's owner, Gladstone Regional Council, at its latest general meeting, was endorsed by the council.

The council also approved a 50 per cent dividend repayment from the 2018 financial year profit of $650,000, earning it $325,000.

General manager finance, governance and risk, Mark Holmes, said the Gladstone Airport Corporation had significant cash reserves of $14.1 million at June 30, 2019.

"The airport has adequate cash reserves therefore it is appropriate for the owner, the council, to receive dividends," Mr Holmes said.

The cash reserves will contribute to the airport's 10-year capital expenditure plan, which includes a $12 million upgrade to the runway in 2030.

GAC holds one of the largest debts owed to council of $48.69 million, repaying $3.3 million annually.

The report follows the recent release of the findings from the federal inquiry into regional airfares.

It concluded airfares were affected by a lack of demand in outlying cities and towns, as well as inadequate economies of scale.

The council made a submission to the inquiry that revealed Gladstone Airport for a time had among the highest passenger taxes in Australia for a coastal airport, blaming factors such as the high cost of investment and higher federal compliance costs for contributing to rising fares.