Airport's profit rises 13%

Queenstown Airport has experienced a significant amount of growth, but continued growth must wait for final decisions on issues relating to noise and land acquisition.

A record number of passengers, anticipated with completion of the new international departure area, has helped Queenstown Airport post a $5.2 million profit after tax for the year ending June 30, 2012.

Airport chairman John Gilks informed Queenstown Lakes District Council councillors of the airport's financial position at the finance and corporate committee meeting yesterday.

The profit compared with $4.6 million the previous year, which amounted to a gain of 13%.

Expenditure totalled $8.6 million, which was attributed to a number of major projects, including the completion of the east runway end safety area, the sealing of the cross runway and the extension of the apron which allowed for an additional jet stand.

Because of the need to maintain infrastructure to meet the demand, expenditure was "always going to be reasonably high", Mr Gilks said.

The airport's debt increased to $19.8 million from $11.6 million the previous year.

Mr Gilks acknowledged "noise is an issue and will always be an issue with every airport".

"What's commonly known as PC35 [Plan Change 35], which is the review of the noise boundaries is before the courts, and we understand there has been an interim decision ... [and] there will be a final decision in October."

"We are hopeful that that will provide for boundaries and noise limits which will take the airport through to around 20-25 years; that's the plan."

"On the flip side, there will be quite an obligation to ensure there is adequate noise mitigation."

In July, an environmental court hearing in Queenstown also sought to determine whether Queenstown Airport should gain and develop what was known as "Lot 6", a portion of Remarkables Park Ltd.

Mr Gilks said acquiring land was "another priority" and the airport believed it had "put up a very good case" in July.

"We hope a decision will be made some time in October."

In the report presented to the council, airport chief executive Scott Paterson said the company spent $942,000 "on district planning processes for the extension of its noise boundaries [PC35] and amendments to the flight fans".

This was in addition to money spent on other planning issues such as extending the Airport Designation to Lot 6.

It was emphasised the airport had achieved a lot, despite experiencing a year of what Mr Gilks labelled "significant change".

There had been changes to the board and senior management and the airport had been without a chief executive when Steve Sanderson departed in October 2011. Mr Paterson was appointed in February 2012.