Nearly 3.1 million domestic and international passengers landed at Melbourne Airport in September, representing a 3.4% increase on last year.

According to the data released by the airport, international passenger volumes surged to approximately 960,000 travellers, an increase of about 10% compared to September 2017.

Last month, Qantas launched a non-stop service to San Francisco, adding an extra destination to the airport’s list.

Melbourne Airport CEO Lyell Strambi said the growth in international passenger traffic confirmed the airport’s importance to the state.

“Each month we’re seeing more international travellers visit Melbourne and more Victorians flying overseas, which demonstrates the rising popularity of air travel in and out of Victoria,” he said.

“For three consecutive months, we have seen more than 3 million people travel through Melbourne Airport overall, adding to the state’s economy.”

“For three consecutive months we have seen more than 3 million people travel through Melbourne Airport overall, adding to the state’s economy and we’re likely to see that number grow as we continue to welcome new services, such as Qantas’ new flight to San Francisco.”

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The airport said that it will gradually implement its Runway Development Program to cater to the needs of a growing number of passengers, which is expected to reach nearly 70 million by 2038.

Visit Victoria CEO Peter Bingeman said: “The growth in international traveller numbers can be attributed to so many different factors, a fantastic curfew free Melbourne Airport, direct air links to Melbourne from all over the world, our compact diversity and, of course, Victoria’s world-class major event offering.”

Melbourne Airport was opened in 1970 to replace the nearby Essendon Airport. The airport features four terminals including one international terminal, two domestic terminals and one budget domestic terminal.