Auckland Airport reports flat profit, plans upgrades

Auckland Airport has reported a flat first-half result, and plans to bring forward the billion-dollar redevelopment of its domestic terminal, and upgrade the international arrivals hall.

The company's net profit for the six months to December was unchanged from the year earlier's $147.2 million, reflecting a drop in passenger growth and the impact of discounts to the airport's previously published aeronautical prices.

Revenue rose 1.1 percent $374.7m.

Passenger numbers fell 0.5 percent in the six-month period, with a further fall expected given air travel restrictions associated with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The company airport had downgraded its full year profit guidance by $5m to a range of between $260m and $270m, based on current estimates of the impact of the virus.

"But we remain confident about our prospects over the medium to longer term and continue to lay the groundwork for future growth," chair Patrick Strange said.

"There is strong momentum in our infrastructure development programme with construction in progress on four of our eight key anchor infrastructure projects."

The airport was also accelerating its billion-dollar-plus plan to link the domestic terminal to the international terminal with the establishment of a construction alliance, which included Auckland Airport, Hawkins, Fletcher Construction and designers Mott MacDonald.

The first stage of construction was expected to begin late this year, with completion in 2023.

It also planned to spend $350m on improving the international arrivals area, with construction to begin mid-year.

"The expanded area will also help to strengthen New Zealand's border to prevent pests and diseases from entering the country and allow for the automation of many biosecurity processes," chief executive Adrian Littlewood said, adding that the first stage of construction was expected to be completed by late 2023.

"The expanded area will also deliver a 50 percent capacity increase in Biosecurity New Zealand and New Zealand Customs processing space, helping to improve peak time capacity."

This was in addition to the airport's aeronautical upgrades and other previously announced projects, including a $300m hotel development.

"We are investing heavily in our airfield with $720m to be spent over the next four years in renewing, maintaining and expanding the airfield and associated airfield utilities," Littlewood said.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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