Wednesday 2nd February 2011
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Auckland International Airport, a shareholder in North Queensland Airports (NQA), is in close contact with Cairns Airport as it braces for the arrival of Cyclone Yasi.
Auckland Airport purchased a 24.55% stake in NQA, the operator of Cairns and Mackay airports in Queensland, for A$132.8 million (NZ$172 million) a year ago. The investment was a milestone for the airport which is attempting to grow beyond its core Auckland business.
Cairns Airport said today that it entered stage five of its cyclone plan this morning (local time) and all operations at the airport ceased until further notice. Both of its terminal buildings have been secured.
"As a shareholder we are monitoring the situation and we are in close contact with them," Richard Llewellyn, Auckland Airport's spokesman said.
"Our hope is that their preparedness will mean there is little lasting impact beyond the time of the storm itself," he said.
The only direct impact on Auckland Airport was the cancellation of an Air New Zealand direct flight to Cairns today. Jetstar is due to start direct flights from Auckland to Cairns in April.
Llewellyn said that after the Christchurch earthquake Auckland Airport sent tradespeople to assist Christchurch Airport and if Cairns needed assistance after the event Auckland Airport would provide it.
"That is the sort of thing we can do in an operational sense," he said.
Meteorologists have narrowed the path of Cyclone Yasi to between Innisfail and Cardwell, and will hit about 10pm local time tonight.
Yasi threatens to batter the coast with 300kmh winds and a storm surge up to 7m late tonight.
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