International visitor movements at Queenstown Airport
continue to climb. Photo supplied.
Total international passenger movements at Queenstown
Airport have continued the recent month-on-month trend, to be
up 26% in March compared with March 2013.
Figures released yesterday by Auckland International Airport,
a shareholder in Queenstown Airport, showed there were 23,651
international passenger movements in Queenstown in March
compared with 18,764 in March 2013. In the financial year to
date, 252,550 passengers passed through Queenstown Airport,
up 27.8% on the previous corresponding period (pcp). The
rolling 12-month total was 296,650, up 30.6% on the pcp.
Auckland Airport said in a statement the growth continued to
be driven by additional capacity on all transtasman airlines
In addition, Queenstown Airport had announced it was
expecting its busiest winter season ever, starting on June
There was initial opposition in Queenstown to the share
purchase in the airport by Auckland Airport, which now has a
24.9% stake in Queenstown Airport.
Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said the move
by Auckland Airport had proved the doubters wrong.
''This is a fantastic result. You don't hear any moaning now.
It just goes to show Auckland's approach works. They build a
relationship and work with airlines to gain direct
accessibility to New Zealand as a whole.''
Total domestic arrivals through Queenstown in March were
down 2.3% to 89,513, continuing a trend shown in the financial
year to date and the rolling 12-month average.
Mr Timms said Auckland Airport had developed its sphere of
influence, allowing it to help overseas airlines break into
the New Zealand market.
The ability in helping smooth the process of being able to
land in New Zealand, especially for Asian airlines, was
particularly helpful for Queenstown.
''Through its push into Australia, visitors from China can
fly through Australia, into Auckland and on to Queenstown.
The methodology is working for the airport and, after all,
what is good for Auckland Airport is ultimately good for New
Overall, overseas arrivals to New Zealand through Auckland
Airport were slightly down in March compared with the pcp,
mainly due to the early Easter last year which was at the end
of March compared with mid-April this year.
Monthly visitor arrivals from Australia were down 13.5% in
March compared with last year. The decrease again related to
the later timing of Easter and school holidays. School
holidays in some Australian states were timed to coincide
with Easter and, as a result, started in April this year, Mr
That was also the reason for a 22.1% fall in monthly visitors
from the United Kingdom in March.
Visitor arrivals from Germany were up 13.2% in March, the
11th consecutive month German visitors had exceeded the
Auckland Airport said Germany was closing in on Japan as the
fifth largest source of visitors to Auckland with 57,212
visitors in the year ended March versus 59,643 visitors from
There were also signs of recovery in European travel markets.
Visitor arrivals from France were up 39.3% and up against the
previous month, for the 12th consecutive month.
Mr Timms said he still liked the company. It had returned
capital to shareholders because it had a ''lazy balance
sheet'' and was talking about a new runway, opening further
space for more airlines.
''Everyone is talking about Apple Inc providing a capital
return, but Auckland Airport is doing something similar.
''You don't repay capital if you think you are going to run
into financial difficulties in the future,'' he said.