Queenstown airport's growth linked to trans-Tasman flights

Queenstown Airport continues to live up to its reputation as one of the fastest-growing aerodromes in Australasia.

The airport yesterday released its latest figures, which show a 5.1 per cent increase in passenger numbers for the 12 months to December compared with 2012.

A total of 1,215,526 domestic and international passengers passed through the airport terminal compared with 1,156,250 in 2012.

The bulk of the growth was attributed to burgeoning international business and increasingly popular trans-Tasman options.

Routes to Queenstown to and from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne increased by 30 per cent from 215,300 passengers to 281,761 in 12 months.

All three routes across the ditch recorded double-digit percentage point growth after extra capacity and more flights were introduced by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia.

The Brisbane route doubled in capacity and passenger numbers, while the airport's private jet business grew with charter flights increasing by 12 per cent to 175 landings last year.

Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson said the second half of last year was tough in terms of domestic business but the appeal of the trans-Tasman arm was very strong.

"Our forward schedules show a strong desire from the four airlines to continue to meet rising demand from our key market of Australia," he said.

Domestic passenger numbers were flat and decreased slightly by 0.8 per cent last year, partly due to Jetstar cancelling its Wellington and Christchurch services to concentrate on its Australia business.

Airport infrastructure work this year includes upgrading the shopping, food and beverage area, and developing plans for an additional international passenger terminal.

The Southland Times