Queenstown international passengers up 27% from pre-Covid

by Kim Bowden - Mar 15, 2024

International visitors into Queenstown continue to bolster numbers through the town's airport, where there was a 26.9 percent jump in passengers from overseas in February compared with 2019 - the last February before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

Compared with last February, international numbers were up five percent.

Meanwhile domestic numbers appear far more sluggish, up just 0.3 percent on February 2019.

In total, there were 211,941 passenger movements through the airport - 62,606 international and 149,335 domestic - up 6.9 percent on 2019.

The airport's Sara Irvine says February was a "bit busier than forecast".

But she cautions against reading too much into this in terms of longer-term growth projections.

Ms Irvine says for the full year the company is "still tracking to forecast".

"Our multi-year growth forecast relates to all passenger numbers, so it skews it a bit to look at only international for only one month, because international makes up a smaller proportion than domestic and the month was one day longer."

She says the forecast passenger numbers for this financial year are 2.46 million, and the airport still expects year-on-year growth to reflect the approximately three percent annual growth forecast in its Master Plan.

"It’s also interesting to note that while there were more passengers last month there were actually fewer flights - aircraft movements. Aircraft movements were down a fraction with 1,446 in February 2024 compared to 1,475 in February 2019."

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