Christchurch International Airport will contribute most of its latest $16.4 million half-year dividend to city council coffers.
The payment will help help fund the city’s recovery and enhancement projects – and there is more to come if performance is maintained over the rest of the the company’s financial year.
A similar dividend is forecast in the second half of the financial year ending in June, taking the total payout for the whole year to $30.6m.
The airport is the second biggest contributor to council finances after the Orion lines monopoly.
International passenger numbers continued their upward trajectory, up 8 per cent, while domestic passengers increased 4 per cent in the six months ending December 2016.
The biggest growth came from Asian travellers.
Christchurch Airport reports record numbers and healthy dividend
“The work our team has been doing with the regions of the South Island in China, South East Asia and Australia has seen this growth spread to regions such as the West Coast, Nelson and Marlborough, Dunedin and the south coast.
“We are seeing a higher proportion of Chinese free independent travellers, who are younger, spending more and exploring more,” Johns said.
Total passenger movements increased by 135,392 (4.4 per cent) to a record 3.24m travellers for the half year, with a record 6.7m passengers expected by June.
Christchurch Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns said new or increased international services in November and December included services from China Southern Airlines, Emirates (A380), Qantas and Fiji Airways.
Passport data showed 53 per cent growth in arrivals through the airport by Hong Kong residents, 37 per cent from Chinese nationals, 32 per cent from Indonesians, 25 percent from Taiwanese, 24 per cent from Koreans, 15 per cent from Japan and 14 per cent from Germans.
The aeronautical revenue side of the business provided revenue of $42.5m, up 6.4 per cent.
But equally important were the property development, car parking, taxi and retail businesses, providing revenue of $43.9m, up 6.6 per cent.
Total operating revenue of $86.4m increased 6.5 per cent.
The net surplus after tax was $18.3m, an increase of 13 per cent compared with the same period last year.
The board of directors proposes paying out most of the profit in shareholder dividends.
Financial forecasts predict a modest debt to equity ratio of 31.8 per cent for the full year.
Christchurch City Council three quarters of the shares in the airport, with the balance held by the government.