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Auckland Airport passenger numbers bolstered by Asian visitors

Monday 29th November 2010

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Auckland International Airport continued to enjoy growing numbers of Asian visitors as its international passengers grew last month.

Total international passenger volumes rose 3.8% to 661,384 in October from the same month a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. That's up 2.7% on a rolling 12-month basis. Domestic passenger numbers grew 2.9% in the month, and are up an annual 7.2%.

Airport "passenger growth of 3.8% was driven by strong New Zealand and Asian growth, while traditional long-haul markets of U.K. and U.S.A. remain relatively weak," the company said.

Long-haul tourism has been in the doldrums since the global financial crisis hit, sapping people's ability to spend their cash on international holidays. Still, growth in emerging Asia has underpinned those economies and helped keep New Zealand's tourism markets afloat. The recovery in Asian tourist numbers is still off its highs of the mid-2000s, with Korea visitors up 1,492 to 5,425 in October from the same month in 2009, and Chinese arrivals increasing by 1,014 to 8,650, according to government data.

The shares rose 0.5% to $2.09 in trading today, and are up 3.8% this year.

Chinese visitors increased 17% to 8,621, while Japanese arrivals climbed 29% to 5,740. Korean passengers fell 3.4% to 4,507.

International arrivals were also up at Queenstown and Cairns Airports, which Auckland Airport holds stakes in. Queenstown reported a 24% gain to 6,377 and Cairns arrivals rose 29% to 65,462. Mackay Airport domestic passenger numbers rose 17% to 95,225 in October.

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