Q’town Airport: forecast 2.4 million annual passengers by 2025

by Peter Newport - Jun 27, 2022

Even after being asked by QLDC to lower forecast passenger numbers the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) is still predicting almost 2.5 million visitors a year by 2025.

In documents released today ahead of a full council meeting on Thursday, QAC’s draft Statement of Intent, with changes made at the request of elected councillors, the forecast shows aircraft movements doubling from 9,726 a year (2022) to 18,832 (2025).

Forecast passenger numbers and aircraft movements from the QAC SOI

The annual passenger numbers increase from 1.11 million (2022) to 2.47 million in 2025.

QAC reckons that by 2025 passenger numbers will be higher than they were pre Covid

Significantly the dividend payable to ratepayers via the council’s 75% ownership peaks out at $3.9 million dollars, just over half the amount paid out pre-Covid.

Financial forecasts show the airport's community dividend rising to barely half of pre Covid levels.

Following questions at an earlier council meeting, QLDC also commissioned a report that details exactly what the legal relationship and responsibilities are between the council and the QAC.

The report, produced by QLDC former in house lawyer Alice Balme who now works with law firm Wynn Williams, comes down on the side of the QAC Board having a relatively high degree of autonomy from the council and makes it clear that the QAC Board is under no obligation to take the community’s views into account.

"As QAC must also have regard to the interests of the community in which it operates, QAC has also committed to consult with the community as an integral part of the strategic planning for the organisation."

"This consultation is not a legislative requirement and while QAC must have regard to and endeavour to accommodate community interests or views, it is not obligated to adopt them. Any strategic planning document must satisfy the range of legislative requirements imposed on QAC as an airport company and on the directors of the company. It is therefore important that the strategic planning process is lead and implemented by QAC with input from the shareholders as key stakeholders."

Source: Legal report to QLDC from Alice Balme, Wynn Williams.

Councillors will vote on Thursday this week (June 30th) on whether to accept the new QAC Statement of Intent.

You can read the QAC Statement of Intent here.

You can read the Council's requested changes to the SOI here - along with QAC's responses.

You can read the Wynn Williams report here.

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