Minimal effect elsewhere

Auckland Airport's stake in Queenstown Airport was likely to have a minimal impact on other South Island airports.

Yesterday, Auckland Airport announced it spent $27.2 million to obtain a 24.99% stake in the airport from the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

The alliance is predicted to add more than 170,000 passenger movements within a five-year period.

The move was the first time a "major"airport had bought a stake in another New Zealand airport, and followed the move by Auckland to acquire a 24.55% stake in Queensland airports at Cairns and Mackay earlier this year, Dunedin International Airport chief executive John McCall said.

The move was not anticipated to have any effect on Dunedin airport, which had experienced strong growth in the Auckland-Dunedin sector and it would remain "business as usual".

While a large percentage of international visitors arrived in Auckland, it was Queenstown which acted as the drawcard for those tourists, illustrating why the stake was a strategic move, he said.

Christchurch International Airport chief executive Jim Boult said he did not believe there was a need to take a stake in other airports to enhance routes and increase passenger numbers.

He preferred to work with regional tourism organisations.

"We don't see that this alliance will change our relationship with Queenstown, or our future plans or growth opportunities."

Mr Boult said the alliance was likely to result in increasing tourism numbers for the South Island, just as Christchurch airport recorded its highest number of passenger movements, with more than six million passenger movements for the year ended June 30.

- hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

 

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