Queenstown Airport’s Auckland deal provides annual windfall

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Queenstown Lakes ratepayers can expect an annual windfall of two to three million dollars from Auckland International Airport’s purchase of a Queenstown Airport stake. 

Auckland’s airport company has invested $27.7m for a 24.99 per cent shareholding in Queenstown Airport, effective today. 

Auckland has an option, expiring on June 30 2011, to increase its shareholding to between 30-35 per cent. It requires approval by majority shareholder Queenstown Lakes District Council. 

As a result of the Auckland alliance, Queenstown Airport expects to see a whopping 176,000 extra passenger movements within five years – over and above existing growth forecasts. 

Queenstown Airport chairman Mark Taylor says the passenger increase will be worth more than $150 million to the Queenstown Lakes District. 

The capital injection provided by the deal will enable Queenstown Airport to fund pending upgrades without increasing its financial risk through borrowing, he says. 

“We’re going to run into significant capacity constraints. We have significant capital required during the next three years in the order of $40 million. 

“The board calculated the capital we required couldn’t be generated from our own cash reserves.” 

Taylor says annual dividends from the airport to Queenstown Lakes District Council could reach $3 million. 

Queenstown mayor Clive Geddes says it will be at least $2 million and the community will need to think very carefully about how to best use that money to provide maximum benefit across the district.