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Queenstown Airport breaks passenger number record for 2013

21 January 2014

Queenstown Airport had its busiest year on record in 2013 with a 5.1 per cent increase in passenger movements compared to the previous 12 months.

Newly released figures for December 2013 complete the last calendar year and show a total of 1,215,526 domestic and international passengers passed through the airport terminal compared to 1,156,250 in 2012.

A key contributor to this strong performance was stellar month-on-month trans-Tasman passenger growth which jumped 30.9 per cent from 215,300 to 281,761 in a year.

All three trans-Tasman routes – Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – enjoyed double digit percentage growth thanks to extra capacity and frequency added by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia. The Brisbane route in particular was a standout performer, achieving 102 per cent growth.

The airport’s private jet business also went from strength to strength with charter flights increasing 12 per cent in 2013 to 175 landings.

Domestic passenger numbers remained flat throughout the year, finishing 0.8 per cent down. Factors contributing to this decline included Jetstar withdrawing its services from Wellington and Christchurch and realigning its schedules to increase capacity on trans-Tasman routes. Overall, the Auckland-Queenstown route was the strongest performer with passenger numbers growing 12 per cent year-on-year.

Key projects completed over the past two years ensured the airport was in a good position to manage growth and demands on its infrastructure in 2013. Developments included a $4.2million expansion of the terminal to provide larger international departure facilities, new oversize baggage belts, a much bigger Air New Zealand Koru Lounge, a new rental car concourse, retail enhancements, and operational efficiencies.

Queenstown Airport Corporation CEO Scott Paterson is pleased with the increase in annual passenger numbers and says he’s looking forward to an exciting year ahead.

“The second half of 2013 was tough going for us in terms of domestic air travel but Queenstown’s appeal as a trans-Tasman destination remains very strong.

“Our forward schedules show a strong desire from the four airlines to continue to meet rising demand from our key market of Australia. We’re very grateful for their ongoing support and are working hard to ensure we have the appropriate infrastructure in place to meet this growth and maintain service levels,” he said.

Infrastructure projects for 2014 include upgrades to shopping and food and beverage offerings before winter.

Plans are also underway for a terminal build to cater for international passenger growth. Options include temporary additional space for the upcoming peak winter months of July and August while a longer term solution is being developed with stakeholders.

An interim mini corporate jet terminal, funded and managed by Air Center One and Capital Jet Services, will be operational by March 2014 to better service private jet passengers.


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