New flights announced for airport amid strong financial performance
Another six commercial flights will be arriving and departing from Hamilton Airport each week. The airport's patronage continued to increase as Air New Zealand announced it would increase its Hamilton-Christchurch capacity by 11 per cent from the end of October.
There are to be an additional four direct flights between the cities each week. The new Christchurch to Hamilton services will fly on Tuesdays and Saturdays, while flights from Hamilton to Christchurch will be on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Two more direct flights will also be offered between Hamilton and Wellington, both on Mondays - one flying south, the other coming north. Waikato Regional Airport Ltd chief executive Mark Morgan said the new flights should be "easily sustainable".
"We're seeing some very competitive fares on direct routes between Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Palmerston North and that's being reflected in increased passenger numbers across the board," Morgan said.
"For many travellers Hamilton is now an affordable, more convenient option than other airports, including Auckland."
The extra flights will mean 408 more seats are on offer each week from Hamilton Airport, presenting a strong possibility of around 7000 passengers will pass through the airport's gates each week. The services will be provided by the 68-seater ATR turboprop aircraft, and come close on the tail of the new Friday flight launched between Hamilton and Wellington in April of this year.
Waikato Regional Airport Ltd also announced at its recent annual general meeting that it achieved strong financial performance in the 2017/18 financial year. The company declared its second consecutive dividend, addressing the five councils that own shares in the airport.
It is a council-controlled organisation owned by Hamilton City, Otorohanga, Waipā, Waikato and Matamata-Piako district councils. Also included in the stable are wholly-owned subsidiaries Titanium Park Limited and Hamilton & Waikato Tourism Ltd. A total dividend of $250,000 will be paid out to the shareholders based on earnings from the 2017/2018 year.
Last year was the first time since 2012 that airport operations made a profit, independent of the wider group of companies. Since 2016, the airport had returned a profit largely on the back of land development.