16 Aug 2006
Wellington Airport July 2006 traffic figures have been posted on the Infratil website.
July was disappointing from a traffic perspective. Domestic passengers fell by 3% leading to lower load factors of 72%. Traffic growth has stalled on the back of continually rising domestic air fares, seemingly diminished competition from Qantas and now the complete withdrawal of passenger services by Origin Pacific. June 2006 domestic air fares were at a ten year record - they rose by 33% between March 2003 and June 2006, according to Statistics NZ figures. This is 14% above the peak in June 2002 (pre domestic express), which appears above any level required to recover fuel costs.
International passengers fell by 10% in July, with all routes down. The only exception was the Gold Coast route. The overall international load factor was 71%. Even the Sydney route fell on last year (both seats and passengers) despite the fact that only Qantas and Air NZ operated that route this time last year and the seat factor at that time was 77%. Qantas has commenced operating the larger 737-400s but that has not been sufficient to offset seat reductions in other areas. The Brisbane route fell by 5%, but maintained a strong load factor of 78%. Unfortunately, that route looks set to become constrained again as Air New Zealand reduces its services in the upcoming schedule from seven to five per week.
Wellington Airport and many other parties recently lodged submissions to the Ministry of Transport on the "code-share". WIAL's submission, running to over 130 pages and including independent analysis from two economists and an administrative law expert, is available on Wellington Airports website at
The thrust of the submission is that the "code-share" is both extraordinary and unnecessary. Capacity utilisation experienced by Qantas and Air NZ on the Tasman is not at all outside industry norms. The proposal is unlike any code-share ever before proposed to the Minister, and there is no evidence whatsoever that it is needed for financial reasons.
Construction works at WIAL are continuing largely to timeframe, despite the poor weather recently. In addition to Stage 1 of the terminal project and the southern runway end safety area, the new Wishbone store is under construction in the terminal. ARP leasing is also continuing at a good pace.
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