24 Jun 2011

Auckland Airport passenger numbers rise

1:02 pm on 24 June 2011

The number of international passengers travelling through New Zealand's largest airport rose more than 9% in May compared with the same month a year ago.

Auckland International Airport said the rise was due to a boost in airline capacity on flights from Cairns and Jetstar Asia adding more seats from Singapore.

The strong currency had been hurting the tourism sector, but the arrival of new airlines from existing and new markets is offsetting the pain.

The airport says the number of New Zealanders travelling during the month rose almost 20%, offsetting the continuing weakness in arrivals from Japan and Korea after the earthquakes in Japan and Canterbury.

There are questions, however, about whether the improvements will be sustained. Tourism New Zealand says the mild winter and lack of snow is worrying, because Australians - who have been the mainstay of the market - travel here in large numbers to ski.