Soaring passenger demand and increased revenue pushed up Queenstown Airport's after tax profit up by 21 per cent to $14.9 million in the past year.
In the 12 months to June 30, revenue increased by 17 per cent to $45.7 million compared to the corresponding period last year. Underlying net profit after tax for the period was $14.9m, up 21 per cent on the previous year.
Operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) increased by $5.5m, or 21 per cent to $31.6m while operating expenditure of $14.0m increased $1.2m - 9 per cent.
The airport is attracting more international and domestic services as a tourism boom and the two million passenger movements per year milestone was reached for the first time in December last year.
A total of 2,140,669 passenger movements was a 13 per cent increase on the same period last year, with international passenger numbers up 12 per cent to 596,276 and domestic passenger numbers up 14 per cent to 1,544,393.
The airport's two shareholders, Queenstown Lakes District Council (75.01 per cent) and Auckland Airport (24.99 per cent) were paid a combined dividend of $7.2m.
The company, which is facing local resistance to expansion plans at Queenstown Airport and Wanaka, said that for the Queenstown Lakes community the dividend meant a payment of $5.4m - or $215 per rateable property in the district.
Airport board chairwoman Prue Flacks said the company had invested over $4m in infrastructure, safety, innovation and technology to streamline airport processes and systems and improve the park-to-plane experience for both customers and staff.
She said this included the launch of the Park and Ride, new signage, and expanded pop-up food and beverage offerings. There had been investment in innovation and technology included a new safety management system, real time parking tracking, new flight information display screens and queue time monitoring at the security screening point.
Other major projects included the construction of a dedicated operations centre, terminal building improvements and new equipment which has streamlined operations.
The $14.5m 99-year lease for Wanaka Airport was also a major investment.
Commercial general aviation operators — fixed wing and helicopter movements — were up 6.9 per cent on the same period last year - boosted by an active summer flying season. Private jet movements were equivalent to the previous year.
Public submissions on the 30-year Master Plan had just closed.
"Work also continued on addressing the main constraints identified through the Master Plan process - land, noise and destination infrastructure," she said.
"We will continue to focus on long-term planning and working together to ensure that future growth is managed and sustainable. Investment in regional infrastructure is critical to keep pace with growth and retaining a quality visitor and resident experience."
Flacks said looking forward 30 years could be challenging and the company believed that our focus on planning and collaboration was critical in creating complementary aviation centres for the region that were "sustainable, adaptable, affordable and memorable".