Airport revenue down nearly $900,000

Dunedin International Airport yesterday reported a more than $900,000 loss for the year ended June, but chairman Richard Walls is optimistic the worst is behind the company.

A "bumpy year" saw the company's revenue fall 1.4% to $7.55 million and the after-tax loss fall to $907,842 compared with a loss of $324,236 in the previous corresponding period (pcp).

The company paid tax of $174,000 in the year under review while receiving a credit of nearly $11,000 in the pcp.

Mr Walls said the increased loss reflected the reduction in revenue from international services and a $186,643 reduction in the value of shares held in Fonterra.

The airport had an 8.7% increase in passenger numbers to 770,206, unlike many other airports in New Zealand and around the world, he said.

The increase came from a 12.8% lift in domestic passenger numbers to 719,787, which offset the decrease of 28.3% in international passenger numbers to 50,419.

Transtasman tourism numbers fell following Air New Zealand's decision to withdraw some services to Brisbane and Sydney, Mr Walls said.

"Ultimately, it has meant that Dunedin did not benefit from the significant increase in Australian visitors to New Zealand, in particular for skiing holidays and access to the Central Otago Rail Trail, that could have been anticipated given the on-the-ground work in Australia with travel wholesalers undertaken by Tourism Dunedin."

The major risk for the company remained the potential for falling passenger numbers from reduced travel demand, in the event that current economic conditions continued and the impact of the swine flu pandemic.

The board was satisfied with the state of the company's affairs, Mr Walls said.

"While the turbulence we encountered during the year was greater than expected, we remain confident of our approach to meeting the challenges that lie ahead."

Dunedin International Airport welcomed the introduction of new year-round services by Pacific Blue to Brisbane that started on September 1, and looked forward to new arrivals on the transtasman routes.

The tentative indication from Air NZ that it would continue its seasonal service over New Zealand's winter months to Brisbane, in additional to those being offered over December and January to Sydney and Melbourne, was also welcome.

Early pressure on airport car parking next year would be relieved with the addition of a further 100 car parks.


At a glance

Dunedin International Airport Ltd June year. -
Revenue: $7.55 million, down 1.4%
Loss: $907,842
Domestic passenger numbers: Up 12.8%
International passenger numbers: Down 28.3%


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