Queen­stown air­port traf­fic still climb­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By JOHN EDENS

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.

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