Cairns Airport and the Cairns Post

After yesterday’s effort regarding “soaring” cost of living pressures (see our post here), today the Cairns Post reports “soaring” passenger numbers at Cairns Airport. Passenger numbers at Cairns have certainly been on a steady trend of growth (as has been well documented for some time by Loose Change; his latest on the airport numbers here). However, as is so often the case, when Nick Dalton gets hold of statistics things never go well.
Using the very numbers that Dalton quotes results in rather different conclusions. The paper reports “There were 4.205 million travellers last year 3.67 million through the domestic terminal and 534,000 international visitors. This compares with 3.53 million and 551,000 in 2012, an overall growth of 122,313 passengers or 4.1 per cent.” If we accept the raw numbers as accurate then the simple use of a calculator confirms that the growth rate is actually 3.0% (not 4.1%). That may seem like a small difference (although it isn’t) but even this is overstating the case. The Post quotes Rick Carr, from Herron Todd White, later in the article who notes that domestic passenger numbers were “maintaining a gently rising trend with 2.2 per cent growth between December 2012 and December 2013. But international terminal passenger volumes continue to suffer a declining trend,” 
With domestic arrivals on a trend growth of just 2.2% and international passenger numbers falling how can Dalton claim things are “soaring”? Or is this just the Post’s word of the week?

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