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Auckland Airport sees over 11 million passengers

23 November 2004

Auckland Airport sees over 11 million passengers and more blue skies ahead

Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) shareholders were told at the company's annual meeting today that strong growth has continued for the first four months of the current financial year.

Passenger movements for the four months to 31 October 2004 were up an average of 9.4 per cent on the previous year (an increase of 11.2 per cent international and 7 per cent domestic). The airport company also announced that, on a 12-month rolling average, Auckland International Airport had recently broken the 11 million total passenger mark. Revenue for the four months was up 10 per cent over the same time last year, totalling $91.4 million. AIAL's surplus after tax increased by 23 per cent to $34.7 million.

Chairman Wayne Boyd said, "The airlines have indicated, through their northern winter schedule, that there will be no reduction in services out of Auckland this summer and, in fact, there are some additional flights to Adelaide, San Francisco and Asia.

"Given that international seat capacity increased 30 per cent last summer, and passenger numbers were up 14 per cent, there remains significant capacity for further increases in passenger numbers." Airport chief executive officer, Don Huse, said that the outlook for the coming years continues to be positive, with Tourism Research Council forecasts showing a growth in international visitor arrivals of 5.8 per cent on average per annum until at least 2010.

"It is the company's strong balance sheet and the expectation of further increased international and domestic passenger movements that give us the confidence and the fiscal capacity to undertake a three-year, $375 million investment programme."

The three-year programme includes projects that will be complete by the end of 2004, such as an increase in check-in counters, expanded arrivals and departures processing facilities, 400 new car parks and additional apron hard-stand spaces for aircraft.

Two other construction projects underway and expected to be finished by the end of 2005 are the security-required second level to the international pier which will separate arriving and departing passengers and implementation of a 100 per cent hold stow baggage screening programme.

The airport is also well underway with a master planning review exercise which looks at the shape of the airport's development out to 2050 when Auckland International Airport could be handling up to 30 million passengers per annum.

The future use of Whenuapai Air Force Base was discussed at the annual meeting, with the company supporting the Government's approach in examining the national and strategic implications of a second commercial airport in Auckland.

Wayne Boyd, in commenting on the outlook for the year ahead, said that the board of directors were confident shareholders would see an increase on the 2004 financial years surplus of $94.3 million. "In light of the current performance, the directors currently believe that a surplus after-tax result in the order of $105 million is achievable."


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