A record number of passengers flowed through Nelson Airport in December with more than 4000 more passengers than the same month last year.
Airport chief executive Kaye McNabb said the final count for December was 71,523 passengers with a total for the year of 767,298.
"That's a lot of extra passengers for a regional airport.
"To put it in perspective, our December passenger numbers were one third of Rotorua's total annual passengers.
"Nelson's annual passenger number is actually more than it is for Rotorua, Blenheim and Hamilton combined," Mrs McNabb said.
She said increased passenger numbers had been the trend for eight of the past 12 months, which was due in part to the hard work of airline staff from the three companies providing scheduled services in and out of Nelson, and staff from Nelson Tasman Tourism who promoted the region.
The re-introduction of Air New Zealand link's Palmerston North service has contributed more than 1000 passengers a month to the mix even though this schedule was discontinued at Christmas until the end of January.
"Passenger numbers are a good barometer of the performance of the local economy, so it's pleasing to be able to report such great results," she said.
Nelson Airport is a significant contributor to the local economy with Air Nelson operating its domestic Air New Zealand Link services from its Nelson base.
Fleet maintenance is undertaken in Nelson by the company's engineering division which also handles the heavy maintenance for the ATR aircraft operated by Mt Cook airline.
Sounds Air operate scheduled services to Wellington in 10 seater Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft, and Air2there provide a Nelson to Paraparaumu service in the same aircraft type.
- The Nelson Mail
Does Nelson deserve to be classed as a city?Related story: (See story)