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NEWS Last modified on August 23, 2016

Queenstown Airport reports 'strong' financial and operational performance

The Board of Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) has reported "a strong financial performance" for the year ended 30 June, 2016, underpinned by a record number of travellers who are spending more.

Revenue was up 27% to NZ$31.5 million compared to last year, driven by sustained domestic and international passenger growth, increased spending per passenger and improved commercial revenues. 

Underlying Net Profit After Tax was NZ$10.5 million, up NZ$2.2 million or 27% on the previous year.

Following an adverse taxation ruling related to depreciation claimed on the Runway End Safety Area, statutory Net Profit After Tax was reduced for a non-cash provision of NZ$2.6 million to NZ$7.8 million, down 7% from the prior year.

Operating expenses were up NZ$1.8 million to NZ$10.0 million as the organisation built capacity primarily to service evening flights.  Operating Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) increased by NZ$4.9 million, or 29% to NZ$21.5 million.

In line with QAC’s performance, Board Chairman John Gilks was pleased to report the company’s largest annual dividend of NZ$6.3 million to its two shareholders Queenstown Lakes District Council (75.01%) and Auckland Airport (24.99%), up 21% from $5.2 million last year.  
Queenstown Airport welcomed a record total number of 1.65 million passengers in the 12 months to 30 June 2016, up 18.1% on the previous year’s record.   

As a result of additional airline capacity and frequency, international passenger numbers increased to over 474,000, up 19% on last year, with growth on all direct trans-Tasman routes.

Domestic passenger numbers grew strongly to 1.17 million, up 18%. 

A significant number of these were overseas visitors who transited through Auckland Airport, showing the benefits of strategic partnership with New Zealand’s major international hub airport.

QAC made a significant investment in infrastructure and technology during the year, with a capital expenditure of NZ$21.2 million compared to NZ$16.5 million in the previous year. 

The highlight of this investment was the completion of the runway widening and resurfacing in April 2016 to enable evening flights. 

Technology upgrades have enhanced the airport’s visitor experience with the installation of eGates almost tripling international passenger processing to 1,000 per hour, improved free high speed public Wi-Fi, a new mobile responsive website, and digital signage around the terminal.

Gilks anticipates that visitor growth and demand will continue as visitors seeking the region’s world-class experiences have access to new international services into New Zealand, better domestic connections and, now, after-dark flights in winter.

“Launching after-dark flights in May was a major milestone for New Zealand aviation and tourism and has ultimately delivered a long-term growth opportunity for the airport and the region’s visitor sector," he enthuses.

“We continue to work closely with our four major airline customers Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantas to build flight schedules which give travellers more choice and better access to our region as they take advantage of the longer winter operating window.

“Our strategic alliance with Auckland Airport also continues to deliver long-term value, providing improved connectivity and resources. 

"We expect to see strong growth on the Auckland-Queenstown route over the coming year thanks to the efforts of airlines adding long-haul services from North America, China, Hong Kong and South-East Asia. These services will act as a pipeline to Queenstown and the wider region."

He concludes: “Looking ahead, we are confident of sustainable growth in both domestic and trans-Tasman visitor flows and have begun work on our long-term master plan to ensure we are developing an airport to serve the community and region for many decades to come."

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