Airport reports year of strong progress and performance

Queenstown Airport Med
  • Strong financial performance, revenue $31.5 million, net profit after tax $7.8 million.
  • Sustained passenger growth - up 18.1% to 1.65 million passengers.
  • Largest annual dividend of $6.3 million delivered to shareholders. For Queenstown Lakes District Council, this equates to $202 per rateable property in the district.
  • Introduction of after-dark flights and airport improvements.

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 per cent to $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 $10.5 million, up $2.2 million or 27 per cent 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 $2.6 million to $7.8 million, down 7 per cent from the prior year.

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

In line with QAC’s performance, Board Chairman John Gilks was pleased to report the company’s largest annual dividend of $6.3 million to its two shareholders Queenstown Lakes District Council (75.01%) and Auckland Airport (24.99%), up 21 per cent from $5.2 million last year.  For QLDC this is a dividend payment of $4.7 million, which equates to $202 per rateable property in the district.

Queenstown Airport welcomed a record total number of 1.65 million passengers in the 12 months to 30 June 2016, up 18.1 per cent 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 per cent on last year, with growth on all direct trans-Tasman routes.

Domestic passenger numbers grew strongly to 1.17 million, up 18 per cent.  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 $21.2 million compared to $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 WiFi, a new mobile responsive website, and digital signage around the terminal.

Commercial revenue continued to grow strongly.  The speed and willingness with which businesses took up new space have demonstrated the popularity of the airport as a retail destination.  New or upgraded offerings in the past year include Premium NZ (opened February 2016), Ezi Car Rentals (April 2016) and Enterprise Car Rentals (June 2016), all of which have proven popular with visitors.

Mr 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.   

“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. 

“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,” said Mr Gilks.

View Queenstown Airport Corporation’s full 2015-2016 Annual Report or the Annual Profile summary