Aviation

Christchurch Airport doubles profit

Jonathan Underhill - AAP

Christchurch International Airport has more than doubled full-year profit and lifted dividends for the year.

Net profit for the airport, 75 per cent owned by the city council, rose to $37.8 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $15.7m a year earlier, the company said.

Operating revenue rose 22 per cent to $159m, as aeronautical sales climbed 43 per cent to $68.3m and non-aeronautical sales rose 9.7 per cent to $90.7m.

The airport will pay dividends of $20.6m for 2015, up from $7.6m in the previous year and including a special dividend of $5.1m from a gain on the sale of land to the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Chairman David Mackenzie said the company expects to increase the percentage of profit paid out to shareholders in the 2016 year.

The airport is among assets owned by Christchurch City Council’s investment holding company, which has been flagged for a partial selldown after a report last year on options to close the gap between council funding and its share of earthquake rebuild costs.

Passenger movements rose 4.2 per cent to 5.93m in the latest year, as domestic traffic rose 3.3 per cent to 4.5m and international passenger numbers rose 7 percent to 1.5m. International passenger numbers were helped by the start of China Airlines’ direct route to Taiwan. China led growth in international passenger numbers, rising 53 per cent, followed by India on 37 per cent, while volumes from Australia and Southeast Asia each rose 7 per cent.

In the coming year, China Southern Airlines will begin a service from Guangzhou, China Airlines will add capacity, Singapore Airlines will add flights over the summer, and Virgin Australia and Jetstar will add capacity from Australia, and Qantas Airways will add a service to Brisbane. At the same time, Air New Zealand has pledged to add as many as 180,000 domestic seats between Christchurch and Auckland.

“This is a step change in post-quake international air connectivity and will super charge outcomes for every region in the South Island and by default New Zealand,” said chief executive Malcolm Johns.

The remaining 25 per cent of the airport company is owned by the government, whose share of 2015 dividends would be $5.2m.

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