Auckland Airport is forecasting an improved underlying profit of between $265 million and $275m in the current year.

This would be up on the year to June 30 of $263.1m.

At its annual shareholders' meeting today, outgoing chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said that during last year underlying earnings per share increased 5.8 per cent to 22 cents.

The company's five-year average total shareholder return was 20.7 per cent.


He said the airport was part way through a $2 billion aeronautical infrastructure development programme which was one of the most significant in the country.

''If one word was to sum up 2018 it would be change. Not only the significant change underway at the airport but also that in the wider operating environment.''

The aviation market continued to be dynamic, with many changes throughout 2018 as airline alliances and network plans evolved; changing routes, availability and choices for customers.

The airport's chief executive Adrian Littlewood said there was ''no question'' that the speed of change in business had accelerated, and with it had customer and wider community expectations.

''So while we have embraced that pace and expectation, and changed our business accordingly, transformation in core infrastructure takes longer, is complex, and lasts for decades – so it is important to get right,'' he said.

The multi-year transformation of core infrastructure was set when no one predicted the unprecedented rate of change in travel and trade markets.

Since it set prices and an infrastructure plan in 2012, for the immediately prior pricing period, passenger numbers have grown by 44 per cent in six years.

More than 20 million passengers a year now pass through the domestic and international terminals.


The Commerce Commission is due tomorrow to deliver a final report on Auckland Airport's pricing after earlier this year finding its profits may be too high.

It said the airport was targeting a return of 7.06 per cent, which was above the commission's mid-point benchmark of 6.41 per cent.

The difference in target returns could result in customers paying an additional 61c per flight over the next five years and Auckland Airport earning an additional $47 million in profits after tax.