Queenstown Airport Corporation reports half-year results

WANAKA AIRPORT MAY 2018 37

Today, Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) reported its interim results for the six months ended 31 December 2020, reflecting the impact of COVID-19 on the business and region.

For the reporting period, QAC’s revenue was down 53% to $13.5 million from $29 million over the same period in 2019.  There was a sharp decline in passenger movements (arrivals and departures) at Queenstown Airport which led to the company’s aeronautical and commercial revenue decreasing by 56% and 58% respectively.

Reported Net Profit After Tax was down 80% to $2.2 million*, compared to $10.8 million in the same period last year.  Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA) decreased by 56% from $20.4 million to $9 million.

QAC Board Chair, Adrienne Young-Cooper said: “Our primary objective in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is to safeguard the company’s core capability to operate vital airport infrastructure in the district and to support the operators at both Queenstown and Wānaka airports wherever possible,”

“Our focus for the 2021 financial year has been to stabilise the business through careful management, and to position the company to navigate through the uncertain period ahead and into recovery,” said Mrs Young-Cooper.

Due to the significant impact of COVID-19 on the company, QAC undertook an organisational restructure which was completed during the reporting period.  Mrs Young-Cooper said: “This was naturally a difficult time for our people, and we would like to acknowledge those who left the business as a result of the restructure and thank them for their contribution to QAC.”

QAC halted most of its capital expenditure programme and significantly reduced its operating expenditure as a key component of the company’s stabilisation plan.  Total operating expenditure decreased by 48% to $4.5 million from $8.6 million in the corresponding period last year.

“It goes without saying that this has been an incredibly challenging period and operating conditions have been tough.  To support operators at both Queenstown and Wānaka airports QAC implemented a range of rent relief packages in early 2020, together with other in-kind support.  Over the reporting period the relief provided to tenants was valued at $2.1 million,” said Mrs Young-Cooper.

Activity at Queenstown Airport (ZQN) for the six months to 31 December 2020 was significantly lower than the same period the previous year:

  • Total passenger movements (arrivals and departures) were down 46%
  • Domestic passenger movements were down 19%
  • There were no international passenger or aircraft movements
  • Commercial general aviation (fixed wing and helicopter) landings were down 9%
  • Private jet landings decreased by 22%

Over the reporting period, several new offerings were introduced at both Queenstown and Wānaka airports.  Notably, Sounds Air commenced scheduled services between Wānaka and Christchurch.  New food & beverage and rental car options were introduced at Queenstown Airport.

Chief Executive, Colin Keel said: “While the past year was not what we expected, it brought to the fore the strength and cohesion of our airport community and the Queenstown Lakes district.  We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support and efforts of the QAC team, our shareholders, the Queenstown and Wānaka airport communities, and the residents and businesses of the district,”

“In the second half of the financial year, we hope to see the opening of a two-way trans-Tasman safe travel zone.  We are working in collaboration with our partner airlines, other airports, and government agencies towards this goal.  Queenstown Airport’s only international services are direct trans-Tasman flights, and we have the protocols, procedures, and infrastructure in place to manage the reopening of the New Zealand-Australia border as soon as it is deemed safe to do so by the respective governments,”

“There will continue to be challenges in the year ahead due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19.  We will align with and work in close collaboration with our shareholders, stakeholders, and the community to forge a path forward to recovery with a balanced approach to social, environmental, cultural, and economic wellbeing,” said Mr Keel

QAC’s full interim report, 31 December 2020 is available online.