Auckland International Airport has reported a profit after tax of $4.8 million for the half year to December 2022, down 96 per cent from the comparable $108.8m after an investment property revaluation loss clipped $93.8m from its wings.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, fair value adjustments and investment in associates (Ebitdafi) was at $189m, up 213 per cent from $60.3m on a bounce in total income to $287.8m, more than double the $126.2m for the comparable six months in 2021.
That was on the strength of resurgent passenger traffic of 7.6 million through the terminal, 4.1 million domestic and 3.5 million international.
Chief executive Carrie Hurihanganui said it was “reassuring” to see the airport return to profitability, reflecting a significant increase in capacity, with 23 airlines now flying to 35 international destinations.
“Our focus has been on supporting airlines and their ground handlers by providing an operational environment which allows them to work as efficiently as possible, particularly in the tough-to-recruit labour market.”
As a result of positive signals in the recovery of the aviation industry, the airport has upgraded its earnings guidance for the full year to June 2023, to between $125m and $145m at the NPAT level, which is up from October’s guidance of between $100m and $130m.
It has also revised its capital expenditure guidance for the year to June 2023 from $600m to $700m, to between $525m and $600m, which it said reflects the phasing of development from design to construction for several commercial projects.
Chair Patrick Strange said the group was forecasting continued growth, although the post-pandemic recovery “still has some way to go” because global aviation is facing ongoing systemic challenges.
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“Travellers are feeling the frustration of mishandled bags, airline schedule changes and global staff shortages, as well as the increased likelihood of delays and queues across the aviation system – all issues that are going to take time to resolve.”
On top of that, he said people have also had to contend with recent severe weather events – both the extraordinary Auckland flooding and Cyclone Gabrielle.
Strange said passenger numbers are expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels during 2025, in line with the International Air Transport Association’s outlook for global air travel.
For the rest of this year, it is forecasting international passenger numbers at about 70 per cent of 2019 foot traffic, with domestic passenger numbers at around 85 per cent.
This would result in overall passenger numbers of about 16 million during the 2023 financial year, with roughly equal numbers of domestic passengers and international passengers.