The Airport is 8 kilometres from the centre of Wellington City on a 110 hectare freehold site. It is the gateway to the Capital and the surrounding regions. The Airport hosts about 5.2 million passengers a year, 4.5 million on domestic services and 0.7 million on services with the east coast of Australia. The airports main airline customers are Air New Zealand, JetStar, Qantas and Pacific Blue. The Airport also hosts a RNZAF facility and a number of general avaition, aeroclub, air ambulance and maintenance operations.
Infratil acquired its 66% interest in Wellington Airport when the Crown sold its shareholding in 1998. Wellington City Council owns 34%.
Business Model & Activities
Wellington Airport's business has three areas of particular focus: aviaiton services provided to airlines, passenger services provided in and around the terminal precinct and property activities which occur on approximately 15 hectares of the Airport's site not currently used for avaition activities.
The provision of airfield, terminal and other directly related services and facilities are heavily regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority as to safety and Ministry of Transport as to price. A key aspect of price regulation relates to the information which the airport must regularly disclose. At present the definition of this information is subject to a review being undertaken by the Commerce Commission.
The Airport’s aeronautical charges are reset every five years. On the last occasion in 2007 aeronautical charges rose 2.5% per annum over the period to 1 April 2012. Consultation over prices that will pertain from 1 April 2012 are subject ot a new round of consultation which commenced in March 2011.
The Airport’s terminal, carparking, public transport and taxi services reflect the best of Wellington and its region.
Wellington has been very successful in these fields. Unlike many airports which tend to a bland international brands look, Wellington has made a conscious effort to attract the best of its city and region. Wellington City is famous for its coffee shops and two of them are now located at the airport. Icebreaker is an iconic Wellington product and opened its first ever shop at Wellington Airport.
The local ambience, especially with its smell of fresh coffee, has been effective at encouraging Airport visitors to take advantage of the services and goods on offer.
Wellington Airport owns about 15 hectares of land not currently required for aeronautical use. Development of this area has resulted in an increase in income not derived from the air travel activities from about $1miilion per annum a decade ago to $8million per annum now.
Investment & Growth
Over the last decade the Airport’s domestic passenger numbers have risen about 3%pa. and international passengers about 5%pa. This rate of growth is projected to continue meaning that about 1 million more passengers are expected by about 2017. There are, however, reasons why the next decade could see stronger growth.
On the one hand New Zealand’s aviation market is being gradually integrated with that of Australia. A larger more vibrant market is likely to result in a more diverse offer of services and generally a more dynamic and competitive air travel market which will attract more travel into and from the region.
A second factor is the launch of the Boeing 787 jet. This relatively small light aircraft would be ideal on services between Wellington and Asia. It will be able to use the Airport’s existing runway and facilities and its size suits the demand needs of those routes. ANA is to take delivery of the first of these aircraft in September 2011.
Wellington Airport maintains a capability to grow as demand increases through a consistent programme of investment in its facilities. The most recent example being the new international terminal which opened in late 2010.