In numbers, operator, Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL), reports that its FY17 net profits after tax soared 50% to NZ$21.5 million and its operating revenue grew by NZ$7.4 million (+4.3%), while passenger numbers hit a new high of 6.57 million (+4.1%).
Outgoing CIAL chairman, David Mackenzie, says the result is more good news for shareholders, with the dividend totalling NZ$38.3 million, equating to 66 cents per share.
He says the uplift in the airport company’s property portfolio reflects excellent rental returns on property investments and the delivery of new developments to make efficient use of airport land.
And he notes that that the new traffic record means that the airport is on track to achieve its target of accommodating 8.5 million passengers per annum by 2025.
“Our focus on growing the Australian market has shown results with new trans-Tasman services from Qantas to Melbourne and Brisbane commencing just before Christmas last year.
"Emirates introduced a daily A380 service to Sydney and Dubai, making Christchurch the only New Zealand port to have a daily A380 service with Sydney, and also the smallest city on the planet to have a daily A380 service.
“Pleasingly this additional airline capacity, coupled with our joint campaign with Tourism New Zealand, saw Australian holiday arrivals into Christchurch grow 9% in the January to June 2017 period, continuing the strong recovery from this market after the earthquakes.
“We also saw strong seasonal capacity increases from China Southern Airlines and the strong load factors achieved saw the airline add a further 69% in capacity for the summer.
“In the property area, we have seen the completion of the new parcel logistics area with dedicated taxiway and apron to allow for more efficient transition of parcel freight into and out of Dakota Park.
Parcel freight operators have experienced strong growth as e-commerce drives increased volumes and in FY17, CIAL completed new premises for Freightways and Courier Post. These new facilities will handle around 85% of all parcel freight into and out of the South Island.”
Mackenzie is quick to point out that CIAL is very focused on how new technology and changing consumer behaviours would shape its business going forward.
The airport has partnered with HMI Technologies to undertake New Zealand’s first autonomous electric vehicle trial and remained focused on establishing a basis to deploy electric autonomous vehicles for public transport on campus.
And CIAL also executed an MOU with Alibaba Group to explore how New Zealand’s small businesses could achieve more value out of visitors from China and in the process drive greater parcel volumes into the air freight sector.