Queenstown Airport's growing strategic value has been backed
by independent research which reveals it pumps $274 million
into the Queenstown Lakes District's domestic and
international tourism, business travel and imports and
Research by Market Economics Ltd has found the flow-on
benefits of Queenstown Airport to the economy, in terms of
purchases and salaries, is $6.5 million a year and supports
The total value of the supply firms at the airport and within
its environs is $99 million annually.
The gross domestic product of the Queenstown Lakes district
is $1.1 billion.
Market Economics Ltd examined the economic and social
contribution of 33 New Zealand airports. It found airports
contributed $200 million directly to gross domestic product,
but increased to $40 billion when taking into account the
flow of benefits into communities.
More than 12,645 people are directly employed by airports and
in air transportation, while about 78,810 work within airport
However, once the flow-on benefits into other industries are
taken into account, the overall number of jobs generated is
estimated at more than 710,000.
''Airports are large businesses in their own right, but the
main contribution they make is through the connections they
offer,'' New Zealand Airports Association chief executive
Kevin Ward, of Wellington, said.
''This research clearly identifies, for the first time, the
very significant contribution that airports are making to the
New Zealand economy.''
An interim dividend of 6c a share ($1 million) was paid by
the Queenstown Airport Corporation on January 31 this year.
Corporation directors on August 16 this year declared a final
fully imputed dividend of 16c a share ($2.6 million) for the
year ending June 30.
Asked to comment on the research, Queenstown Lakes District
Council (QLDC) chief executive Adam Feeley said the airport
was ''obviously an incredibly important piece of
infrastructure for the district in that 60% of our economy is
tourism and of the 2.2 million tourists, national or
international, to the district, about half of them come via
''It also therefore follows that it is a very valuable
strategic asset to the council that goes well beyond the
dividend it provides to the ratepayers.''
Mr Feeley said the council, as shareholders, help set the
statement of intent for the board which they then implemented
''Obviously financial growth for the airport is fundamental
to that. It is, after all, a trading company for the council.
''However, it is its strategic importance as the main `port
of entry' to the district for facilitating economic growth
that is as important and the reason for QLDC owning it.''
Queenstown Airport chief executive Scott Paterson said there
was no doubt the airport was an important part of the Lakes
District's tourism success story.
''The research initiated by New Zealand Airports has allowed
to quantify our direct contribution to the region and also
shows the flow-on benefits are huge and shared by many,'' Mr
Asked if the council had any plans to sell off more airport
shares to Auckland airport, or any other party, Queenstown
Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden said at the time of the original
sale of 24.99% of the shares to Auckland International
Airport, it was made clear a minority, or no shareholding,
''would not be in the best interests of the council, or the