Queenstown airport traffic still climbing
Double-digit international passenger growth at Queenstown Airport shows no sign of slowing, the corporation’s chairman says.
Airport chairman John Gilks and chief executive Scott Patterson delivered a six-monthly report to Queenstown Lakes District Council— the aerodrome’s majority shareholder— on Thursday.
Patterson said around 25 per cent of visitors to Queenstown arrived at the airport.
Overall, passenger numbers were up by 11 per cent to 720,000 in the six months to December. International volume increased by 23 per cent and domestic by six per cent. Revenue was up 14 per cent, earnings before tax (EBITDA) increased to $9.2 million and the net profit after tax was $4.7m, a 23 per cent increase.
Gilks’ report said domestic passenger figures were down during the 2013/14 financial year but volumes had rebounded. Most of the increase was on the Auckland-Queenstown route, helped by Christchurch and Wellington services.
Strong long-haul growth was also expected in the Asian markets and the airport’s private jet market continued to grow. Private jet space was limited and the airport was forced to turn away two corporate jets during the peak winter period.
‘‘It’s ahead of our expectations. We think in terms of [international] passenger numbers they look like double digits for at least the rest of this financial year,’’ Gilks said.
Patterson said the airport was in discussion with Air New Zealand and Jetstar about evening flights in and out of the resort. Flights before 10pm have been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia.
Introducing evening flights depends on demand, installation of lighting and infrastructure and the airlines need to conduct operational safety cases. The airport has also asked for part of the cost to be covered by airlines.
‘‘They are talking about it. There’s still some discussion with the airlines about how we will price the infrastructure,’’ Patterson said.
A new expanded international terminal is also being built to accommodate up to 1000 passengers an hour.
Welcome sight: Queenstown Airport.