NEW ZEALAND. Non-aeronautical commercial activities delivered another improved result as Auckland International Airport Limited (AIAL) today posted a +6.8% rise in revenue to NZ$184.0 million (US$94.0 million) for the six months ended 31 December 2008.

Non-aeronautical revenue (including retail, car parking and property rentals) increased +8.0% to NZ$100.7 million (US$51.5 million), a strong result driven by improved rentals (+22.6%) from completed developments and rental reviews, combined with further revenue in utility services and general income (+16.3%).

Retail income* grew a modest +1.4% to NZ$51.8 million (US$26.5 million). Retail income per international passenger was NZ$13.77 (US$7.04), a +1.0% improvement over the corresponding 2007 six-month period (NZ$13.64/US$6.97).

Aeronautical revenue increased +5.4% to NZ$83.3 million (US$42.6 million), representing 45.3% (as against 45.9% for the previous year’s period) of the company’s total revenue.

Total passenger volumes rose +2.0% to 6,630,816, driven by continuing growth in domestic travel. International passenger numbers (excluding transit and transfer passengers) were down -1.2%. New Zealand travellers remained the largest single category (47.9%) in terms of international arrivals, while Australian arrivals continued to grow strongly (+4.5%).

Domestic passenger numbers rose +4.1% to 2,872,775, driven in particular by strong competition in the domestic market and a full six months of service from Pacific Blue compared with two months of service in the previous comparative period.

Operating earnings before interest, tax and depreciation (Operating EBITDA) increased +2.5% to NZ$138.7 million (US$70.9 million), while profit after tax was down +79.4% to NZ$9.8 million (US$5.0 million). Excluding the investment property devaluation, profit after tax was up +8.3% to NZ$51.6 million (US$26.4 million).

The six-month period to 31 December 2008 saw significant changes in the senior leadership team of Auckland Airport. Simon Moutter has been appointed Chief Executive Officer following the retirement of Don Huse. In addition, the positions of Chief Financial Officer (Jason Dale), General Manager Property (Peter Alexander), and General Manager Retail (Adrian Littlewood) have also been appointed, and the positions of General Manager Business Development (Glenn Wedlock) and Strategic Communications Advisor (Andrew Pirie) have been created.

“At this stage, Auckland Airport remains on track to deliver growth for the full year in revenue and in Operating EBITDA (excluding investment property revaluations),” AIAL said. “The full year net profit after tax for the company is still expected to be at the lower end of the previous guidance range of NZ$100.0-$110.0 million (US$51.1-$56.2 million) before reflecting the impact of the non-cash devaluations in the investment property portfolio and any further unexpected one-off costs.”

Auckland Airport Chairman Tony Frankham added: “The long-term outlook for the company remains positive, reflecting international passenger number projections that are expected to increase over the longer term, reflecting New Zealand’s enduring popularity as one of the world’s leading tourism destinations.

“Locally, competitive airfares may encourage New Zealanders to travel domestically and internationally, particularly trans-Tasman. We can expect a commensurate increase in retail, and overseas visitors, as a result of the declining value of the NZ dollar. The board and management are committed to the sustainable development of Auckland Airport and the creation of value for all of its stakeholders,” he concluded.

*NOTE: In related news Auckland Airport this week announced that Australian travel retailer James Richardson Group was its preferred second duty free retailer to join DFS Group from August 2009 (replacing The Nuance Group-owned Regency Duty Free). The announcement follows the controversy over AIAL’s earlier decision to opt for a single duty free retailer (DFS), which prompted the Commerce Commission’s intervention.



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Auckland Airport launches new Park & Ride service – 22/12/08

Auckland Airport revamps leadership team and names new General Manager Retail – 03/12/08