Overseas business booming at Qtown Airport
International business at Queenstown Airport is "bigger than Christchurch", the chief executive told councillors yesterday.
Speaking at a Queenstown Lakes District Council finance meeting, airport chief executive Scott Paterson said the council-controlled company earned a net profit after tax of $5.3 million, a 2 per cent increase on the last financial year.
While domestic passenger numbers declined, primarily because Jetstar has stopped Wellington and Christchurch services from Queenstown, international passenger volume increased by 23.8 per cent.
"For August we were down a little bit [domestically]. The flights coming into Queenstown were down 8 per cent. We are watching that. The cause was Jetstar's withdrawal from Christchurch, and from September they withdraw from Wellington."
Queenstown Airport Corporation was pushing Air New Zealand for more domestic capacity but the flipside was the trans-Tasman numbers into the resort, including new Jetstar services.
"In the last month, volume grew almost 20 per cent. For July, Queenstown was the second-largest recipient of Australian visitors in the country.
"We are bigger than Christchurch, well bigger than Wellington."
Overall, his report said the airport hosted 1,198,918 passengers in the 2012-13 year, a 14.5 per cent increase on the previous year, marked by the international growth and a 12.4 per cent increase in domestic passengers overall.
All four airlines servicing Queenstown - Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar and Virgin Australian - increased the number of seats by 7.2 per cent.
Mr Paterson said the next step was deciding where to build to accommodate international arrivals.
- © Fairfax NZ News