24 Jan 2006
Wellington Airport December 2005 traffic figures have been posted on the Infratil website.
December was a poor month for passenger growth in Wellington. International passenger traffic was down 12.4% on last year on a 8.8% fall in capacity. The Sydney route continued to be well below last year (23%) with reduced capacity after the departure of Pacific Blue from that route, as well as small reductions in seats by Qantas and Air New Zealand. Unlike earlier months, this fall was not offset by very high growth on the Brisbane and Gold Coast routes. Brisbane and Gold Coast collectively grew by 20% on last December, but this compares with growth of 80% during winter 2005. Load factors remained healthy and slightly down on last year. This is in the context of a slump in inbound visitors across New Zealand.
Domestic traffic was down 5.3% on last year. Adverse trends were reflected across both trunk and regional routes.
There were three days that experienced some weather related interruptions in December that would account for some of the decline. However, reduced competitiveness remains a very signficant issue, resulting in reductions in capacity and higher fares. At this stage, there are no indications that customers will benefit from a stimulatory airline market in the near future.
In December, some initiatives foreshadow a new retail plan that will unfold further in 2006. The new Icebreaker store opened at Wellington. It is the first dedicated Icebreaker store and will be unique in New Zealand and Australia. The duty free tender closed and has been evaluated. A party has been selected to proceed with negotiations and will be considered further in January and February, albeit that the incumbent duty free operator initiated legal action that will lead to an arbitration in the first quarter of 2006. Car rental tenders were also finalised and new licences have been provided on significantly improved terms. Changes to the car parking business continue following a restructuring of tariffs and the introduction of new differentiated products, including commencement of improvements to the premium offer as well as a new value car park. Advertising also continues to perform strongly. Trading at the Airport Retail Park got underway in earnest with Dick Smith now operating alongside the Warehouse and Briscoes.
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