Tourist boom benefits Christchurch Airport

Christchurch Airport continues to enjoy the benefits of an increased tourism market and set several records in its financial year ending June.

Chairman David Mackenzie said the airport set a record of 6.3million passengers for the financial year through servicing the South Island tourism market.

In doing so, the airport pumped more than $180million in economic activity into the regions of the South Island and generated a record $31million in dividends for shareholders.

''Christchurch remains the South Island gateway for international visitors. We've seen very pleasing progress this year, with increasing international airline capacity and high airline load factors,'' he said.

The airport company reported an operating profit of $103million for the year, up 10.6% from $93million in the previous corresponding period.

Operating revenue grew 5.4% to $170million, from $161million on the pcp and the reported profit grew 9.6% to $43million, up from $389million.

Dividends soared by 51.4% to $31million, up from $21million. The airport company is 75% owned by the Christchurch City Council and 25% owned by the Government.

Mr Mackenzie said dividends had lifted from $7.6million in 2014 to $31million this year. The increased dividends came not only by growth in profitability, but also by the board increasing its dividend payout from 60% of reported profit to 90% this year.

''The business has grown, developed strategically and built greater resilience in recent years, plus the outlook is positive, all of which gave the board confidence to lift ongoing dividend payouts to 90%.''

Chief executive Malcolm Johns expected continued growth in passenger numbers in the 2017 financial year to be in a range of 6.6million to 6.7million.

Transtasman airline capacity was forecast to increase by about 15% and international long-haul capacity by about 20%.

The airport's focus in the past two years had been to build strategic partnerships that increased connectivity to the big airport hubs of Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Auckland, Singapore, Guangzhou, Taipei, Seoul and Dubai, which collectively handled more than 200million passengers a year, he said.

''We intend to keep building a stronger business through continued aeronautical growth and land development and to keep investing in our customer experience, safety and sustainability to support out city's recovery and contribute to the social and economic outcomes of the South Island and New Zealand, with continued focus on lifting shareholder returns.''

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