Queenstown Airport to deliver ratepayers $4m dividend

by Kim Bowden - Feb 21, 2024

The Queenstown Airport will pay an interim dividend of $5.3 million, with just under $4 million of it going to majority shareholder the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

The airport has recorded revenue of $33 million and net profit after tax of $12.7 million for the six months to December 31.

Both revenue and profit were up 10 percent compared with the same period the previous year.

In a statement this morning, Queenstown Airport Corporation chair Adrienne Young-Cooper says the business has started the financial year well, with sustained demand for travel to and from Queenstown, especially on trans-Tasman routes, resulting in a strong financial performance.

“It is pleasing to have established a cadence again after the upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic."

She notes capacity on domestic routes was constrained during the reporting period after Pratt & Whitney engine issues necessitated changes to Air New Zealand’s flight schedules.

“This was balanced by growth in international passenger numbers, which underscores the enduring appeal of this region to the Australian market.”

The interim dividend mirrors that of last year, when a record $5.98 million was delivered to shareholders, contrasting sharply with three years during the pandemic when no dividend was paid.

Passenger movements - both arrivals and departures - for the period totalled more than 1.2 million, up 3.3 percent, and very similar to pre-Covid numbers.

“We expect passenger numbers to remain strong over the next six months, producing steady revenue and delivering a solid full-year result.”

The airport signed off on its 'Master Plan' to guide development over the coming three decades during the reporting period. 

Queenstown Airport chief executive Glen Sowry says consultation on the draft version of the plan provided a "valuable opportunity" to talk to locals about their airport of the future.

“The deep interest in our work reinforced what a vital role the airport plays as a social and economic enabler.

“It also highlighted how important it is that we protect what makes ZQN unique, while improving our infrastructure and operational efficiency.”

Mr Sowry says alongside detailed planning for a capital works programme to deliver on the Master Plan, good progress had been made on other key areas of focus, including long-term planning, the terminal upgrade programme, and projects to improve resilience, customer experience, and operational efficiency.

“Our significant investment in extra self-service kiosks and automated bag drops has sped up passenger processing and dramatically reduced congestion at the check-in area during peak times. It is an excellent example of how we are using technology to make the journey through Queenstown Airport smoother.

“We’ve also made changes behind the scenes, working with airlines to introduce slot coordination to better manage flight arrivals and departures, and establishing an integrated operations centre. These changes have increased operational efficiency and flexibility, which was particularly helpful during the Christmas-New Year peak."

Main image (Supplied): Queenstown Airport chief executive Glen Sowry.

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