Chinese visitors jump 30% to help lift CIAL profit

A jump in Chinese passenger numbers in the six months to December 2017 has helped Christchurch International Airport Limited (CIAL) lift its interim revenue and profit.

The airport operator has reported total operating revenue of $88.9m, up 2.8% on the same period the previous year, and profit after tax of $19.3m, up 5.8%.

“This reflects strong increases from key markets such as Australia, China, South East Asia and Europe,” said CIAL.

“China was particularly strong with 30% year on year growth for the six month period July to December, off the back of China Southern Airlines moving to daily services over summer and Cathay Pacific operating its inaugural summer services between Hong Kong and the South Island.”

Total passenger movements over the period increased by 5.2% to 3.41 million with domestic passengers up 5.1% to 2.56 million and international passengers up 5.6% to 850,000.

December 2017 was the busiest single month on record, with 638,043 passengers passing through the airport, said CIAL.

Passenger growth helped lift non-aeronautical revenue to $48.5m, up 10.3%, driven by record spending in the terminal and new income streams from the airport’s property development programme.

However, aeronautical revenue was down 5% to $40.4m due to lower regulated returns on charges to airlines, as permitted by the Commerce Commission, which took effect in July last year.

CIAL declared an interim dividend of $17.4m, up 5.8% on the same period last year, and said it was on track to set a new annual passenger record for the third year in a row of around seven million passengers.

Christchurch City Council owns 75% of the airport and the government owns the remainder.

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