Australians flew to Queenstown in record numbers in 2013/14, attracted by the region’s snowfields, golf courses and natural beauty.
Or perhaps they can’t get enough of that spectacular landing.
Whatever the reasons, Queenstown Airport says the 12 months to June 30 2014, was its busiest year on record, with total passengers up 4.2 per cent to 1.25 million.
Of those, some 308,402 were trans-Tasman passengers, a rise of 27.6 per cent from the prior corresponding period.
“All three trans-Tasman routes – Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne – enjoyed double digit percentage growth thanks to extra capacity and frequency added by Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia,” Queenstown Airport said in its annual review published on Wednesday.
The strong rise in international passengers helped offset a slight decline among domestic passengers at the airport due in part to Jetstar withdrawing services from Wellington, the airport said.
Queenstown Airport Corporation chairman John Gilks said the airport would continue to work closely with tourism and aviation partners to build sustainable capacity growth and improve connectivity, especially with the prospect of evening flights starting in 2016.
“Forward schedules show a strong desire from all four airlines operating at Queenstown Airport – Air New Zealand, Jetstar, Qantas and Virgin Australia – to continue to meet rising demand from our key market of Australia,” Gilks said in a statement.
“We are very grateful for their on-going support and are working hard to ensure we have the appropriate infrastructure in place to meet this growth and maintain service levels.”
Queenstown Airport was in May given provisional approval by the NZ CAA to start night operations.
In addition to getting ready for evening flights, the airport is also building a pay-in premium lounge, improving passenger flows in the arrivals and departures area, adding a third baggage belt and leasing space for a mini corporate jet terminal.
The airport, New Zealand’s fourth busiest, reported a net profit of $NZ6.6 million, up 25 per cent from $NZ5.3 million in the prior corresponding period.
Queenstown Airport will be profiled in the October issue of Australian Aviation.