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29 Aug 2023

Strong restart for Christchurch Airport delivers higher than forecast dividend

Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL) reports the post-pandemic environment of financial year 2023 (FY23) has signalled the true commencement of its aviation re-start, which has seen the airport perform ahead of forecasts.

The airport today reports a net surplus after tax (including underlying operating profit and revaluations of investment property) of $36.8m. Underlying operating surplus after tax was also positive at $30.6m, which was $4.8m ahead of original budget.

This has resulted in it declaring a total annual dividend of $27.6m for the year to June 2023 - $14.5m was paid to shareholders in February 2023, and a final dividend of $13.1m will be paid in October 2023.

Total passenger numbers for the year were 5.69 million, compared to 3.26 million in the prior year. Full year passenger numbers were 82.5% of pre-Covid levels (domestic 90.2% and international 60.0%), improving consistently through the year.

Board Chair Catherine Drayton says the strong restart and performance has been underpinned by the diversification of the business. The return of passenger activity has brought the terminal back to life including the restart of retail outlets, the re-opening of the Novotel Christchurch Airport and the addition of new food and beverage offerings.

The airport’s property portfolio continues to perform strongly. Its investment property portfolio has grown to occupy 21.6 hectares of building space with lease occupancy sitting at 99.8%. The total contracted property rent roll has grown a further $3.5m (7.8%) during FY23.

Ms Drayton highlights the appeal of the reinvigorated city of Christchurch, with new venues, events and activities, appealing to visitors, students and residents alike. She says the company’s highest priority is growing its engine room of Christchurch and this was reflected in the signing of a $2.5m marketing partnership agreement with Tourism New Zealand.

This summer will be buoyant with the restart of its international airline partners Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airlines and increased services from Singapore Airlines. In addition, the airport will welcome the commencement of a new direct route offered by United Airlines, between Christchurch and San Francisco.

Despite the ongoing disruptions of the pandemic, CIAL has continued to maintain its Kaitiaki focus to keep moving forward in contributing to the challenges of climate change; advancing Kowhai Park – a 300-hectare solar development on the west side of the main runway;  and evolving  from a single campus approach to actively exploring what further role it could play in aviation in New Zealand, through the exploration phase of its Central Otago project.

Ms Drayton points to the embedded resilience of the company’s team, continued intergenerational thinking into the future, and its stakeholder equity philosophy of customers, team, shareholders and planet.

“We look ahead with a clear purpose and positivity about the role we can play in delivering stakeholder value for Ōtautahi Christchurch and Te Wai Pounamu South Island,” she says.