Christchurch Airport has experienced a revival five years after the earthquake that wreaked havoc on the region. Profits hit $20.6 million in the 2015 financial year, up 110 percent. Passenger spend rates at the airport have also had a bump and are up 4.2 percent, despite some niggly duty free changes. Retail spending is bound to increase further thanks to the recent addition of a new 6100 square metre retail precinct, which is so far home to a Countdown supermarket.
Board chair David Mackenzie says the airport has seen a strong increase in international passengers, which has helped contribute to the results.
The sale of land and buildings to the NZTA also gave the company a boost of $5.1 million in asset sales.
Mackenzie says the airport’s strategy for the next 10 years will concentrate on continuing to grow international passenger numbers, particularly from Australia and Asia.
Visitor numbers from these countries are already growing – Australia and South East Asia were up seven percent, China was up 53 percent and India was up 37 percent.
The airport says these growths added $300 million in new visitor spending to the country, or more specifically, the South Island.
Government statistics show that when visitors enter the country through Christchurch, 84 percent of their total is spent within the South Island.
This is welcome news for the region, which saw a drop in international visitors over 2011 and 2012.
Christchurch Airport also will continue to develop property surrounding it.
“The past year has seen us complete Mustang Park, the new tourism transport hub to the north of the terminal, with Tourism Holdings Limited recently moving into its new campervan site there,” Mackenzie says.
“The new retail development, the 6100 square metre Spitfire Square, has been completed and the Countdown supermarket is open.”
He says other retail stores will open in the precinct over the coming months.
Chief executive Malcolm Johns says the results show the airport is moving forward into a post-earthquake era.
“We have seen solid revenue growth off the back of some dedicated and hard work by our business development teams, both in Christchurch and on the international stage,” Johns says.
“We’ve also seen some outstanding work by our operational teams in maintaining a top-shelf customer experience for all our airport users.”
Passenger spending in the terminal rose 4.2 percent.
This was despite challenges posed by changes to duty free rules, such as the restrictions set on duty free purchases of tobacco.
“Our team has kept us at the top of independent customer experience surveys for airports across Australia and New Zealand, which means we’ve been there for three years in a row now, something we are all very proud of,” Johns says.
He says the company will continue to enhance its retail offering by increasing its range of products.
As for Christchurch’s visitors, 550,000 additional international airline seats from South East Asia, Australia and China have been added for the coming financial year.
Johns says this boost in visitors will “super charge” outcomes for the South Island regions.