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WRAL delivers on financial targets

Waikato Regional Airport Ltd (WRAL) has ended its financial year having met all financial earnings targets, and strongly committed to its strategy of diversified revenue streams.

WRAL is a council-controlled organisation owned by Hamilton City, Otorohanga, Waipa, Waikato and Matamata-Piako District Councils and is the umbrella for subsidiary companies Hamilton Airport, Hamilton Airport Hotel Limited, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT) and Titanium Park Limited.

At its annual general meeting today the group reported operating revenue for the year of $10.5 million, up from $8.6 million last year. This included a $1.9 million year-on-year increase in airport operating revenue, including growth in aeronautical charges and an eight per cent increase in passenger growth.

WRAL chair Barry Harris said overall the group had ended the year with a very strong balance sheet. He noted its successful strategy to grow non-aeronautical revenue streams and provide stability to core airport operations.

Hamilton Airport had performed “exceedingly well” with a record 382,000 domestic passengers using the port. But other parts of the group had made a substantial contribution to the bottom line, he said.

These included WRAL’s investment in the Hamilton Airport Hotel which was purchased in January 2018 and was being refurbished into a 62-room 4-star conference facility and hotel. The completely revamped hotel will be substantially refurbished by Christmas 2019 and its contribution to WRAL’s revenue was forecast to significantly increase.

WRAL’s wholly-owned subsidiary Titanium Park Limited also contributed to the financial results via strong land sales around the airport precinct as well as growing the group’s income from property leases.

Harris noted WRAL’s growth in profit had been achieved despite putting $1.4 million of capital expenditure into the airport operations including the purchase of a second fire appliance, improvements to the airfield and minor upgrades to the terminal.

Next year WRAL will embark on a multi-million dollar upgrade to its terminal building and carpark on the back of projected passenger growth. Structural work, including a complete refurbishment of the terminal, will begin “in force” in early 2020 and will take around 18 months to complete, Harris said.

“We are confident in our projections of solid continued passenger growth and earnings and we are absolutely committed to improving the customer experience.”

“Over the last three years we have seen a 26 per cent increase in passengers through the airport and we see no sign of that slowing down.”

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism (HWT), which is charged with marketing the region to domestic and international visitors, had also performed well. Visitor nights were up 5.8 per cent and visitor spend was up three per cent to an estimated $1.558 billion. HWT had also increased its share of the lucrative convention and business events market.

On the back of its financial performance and strong indications of continued growth, WRAL has confirmed it will pay a dividend to its five shareholding councils for the third consecutive year.

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