Wellington Airport posts revenue gains

JAMES WEIR
Last updated 10:45 09/11/2012

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Wellington Airport's landing and terminal revenues are up more than 12 per cent in the September half year to just more than $30m, compared with the same period last year.

Wellington Airport is 66 per cent owned by investment company Infratil, with the balance held by Wellington City Council.

Earlier this month the Commerce Commission published a report into landing charges, concluding that the current light-touch regulations were allowing Wellington Airport to "extract excessive profits".

The commission said the airport's profit targets between 2013 and 2017 amounted to overcharging of at least $21 million, and up to $39m, after the airport opted not to use the commission's formula for calculating charges.

In financial results for the half year, issued today, the airport's total revenues were up 8.1 per cent to $51.4m.

Revenues from retail and trading activities were up almost 3 per cent to almost $16m, while property rents and lease incomes were almost flat, up just 1 per cent.

The airport's underlying operating profit was $39.4m, excluding a subvention payment, which it called a solid performance.

But the airport made a "subvention payment" of almost $30 million to Infratil subsidiaries in the half year, down only slightly on the previous half year. A subvention payment is a payment from a profitable company to an unprofitable one, according to the IRD.

After accounting for that and other operating expenses and staff costs, underlying operating earnings were $9.46m, up from $4.69m in the previous half year.

After interest costs and other one-off changes in fair value, the airport posted a pre-tax loss of $13.7m, compared with a $17.8m loss last year.

After tax income, the bottom line loss was $5.5m, compared with a $11.7m loss in the previous September half year.

The airport said strong growth in the international market saw passenger nunmbers up 4.2 per cent, with increased capacity by the Air New Zealand/Virgin trans-Tasman alliance and Qantas.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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