31 Aug 2012

Auckland Airport aims to expand new routes

7:04 am on 31 August 2012

Auckland International Airport says its focus will be on expanding new routes to offset weaker demand from Europe.

The country's largest airport operator made $142.2 million in the year to the end of June, an increase of 41% on the previous year.

Excluding one-off charges and revaluations of assets, the airport's underlying profit rose 15% to $139 million.

Auckland Airport says passenger volumes rose in Auckland and Queenstown, in which it has a quarter stake, while retail, car parking and property income all rose.

With more travellers from China and other South-East Asian markets, Auckland Airport acting chief executive Simon Robertson says it needs to make inroads into the Asian market so it can reap the rewards in the future.

He says it's likely global uncertainty will continue and some markets will be in decline, notably the UK and Europe. Asia, Australia and the Americas are the key areas where growth is likely.

Mr Robertson says Auckland Airport spends millions of dollars a year in promoting New Zealand in overseas markets to grow passenger volumes, the number one value driver for the company.

He says the organisation is looking to try and get higher value passengers which will bring greater benefit to the country's tourism industry.

"We think the free independent traveller is one segment, students and people associated with the students, conference facilities, are all areas where there could be greater spend by certain categories if we're able to expand those markets at a faster rate than others".

Mr Robertson says Auckland Airport is forecasting a profit of $143 - $150 million for the current financial year.

He says that growth will come from across the whole of the business.

Auckland Airport will pay a dividend of 10.5 cents a share.