Hamilton Airport passenger numbers do a 180
More Kiwis are flying in and out of Hamilton Airport - that's a 180-degree change in fortune, since passenger numbers had been declining since 2011.
The domestic passenger numbers for the second half of 2015 totalled 157,486, an increase of 7.5 per cent on the year before.
"We have seen commercial passenger growth out of Hamilton airport for the first time in four years," said airport chief executive Mark Morgan. "We are still getting compensating growth out of the other routes, seeing 8 to 10 per cent growth on the Wellington and Christchurch routes."
Because numbers are increasing, Air New Zealand plans to triple the size of its Koru Lounge by the middle of this year.
"We're very pleased that we are seeing a reversal of that downward trend. That's got to be good news for the airport, company and for the region. We're also excited that there is an expectation that the growth will continue. So Air New Zealand will be lifting their capacity to allow more people to fly out of Hamilton, and I hope that will also encourage a competitive air fare or advance purchase out of the region as well."
The growth is due to a perfect mix of increased economic performance throughout the country - leading to more people taking trips for both business and pleasure - plus Waikato's increasing popularity with tourists.
"I think there's no question most airports are seeing an increase in their passenger numbers," Morgan said. "So it's a combination of economic and tourism conditions, increasing the importance of the regions to the New Zealand economy."
And airport users can look forward to other perks besides the Koru Lounge upgrade.
"The increased passenger numbers provides an opportunity to look at the customer experience options inside the terminal. So, I'm sure, increased numbers allow investment. I can't point to anything specific at this stage, though."