Hawke's Bay Airport Redevelopment

Media Release

30 September 2021

Highlights – Year to 30 June 2021

  • Opening our new terminal, with room for more than 1 million passengers a year
  • Returning to profitability 17 months ahead of forecast
  • Retaining air traffic control services
  • Completing our 20-year master plan
  • Attaining Level 2 of the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme
  • Committing to net zero carbon emissions by 2030
  • Completing a feasibility study for our proposed solar farm development
  • Launching business park, Ahuriri Aeropark, located within the airport precinct
  • Introducing two electric vehicles into our fleet

Bounce back from challenging year reinforces need for resilience

At the start of the 20/21 financial year, New Zealand was experiencing the freedoms of Level 1 after three months of lockdown and Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited (HBAL) was just starting to understand the impacts of the Covid-19 on its business. Despite the severe shock to the global aviation industry, by year end, the airport was well on the way to recovery.

HBAL chair, Wendie Harvey says by then passenger numbers had bounced back to 90% of pre-Covid numbers and HBAL was seeing greater than forecast revenue.
She says the financial position was strong enough that a loan granted by shareholders to underwrite the construction of the terminal through the uncertainty of the Covid-19 recovery was not needed.

“We were extremely grateful for the support our shareholders showed us during what was an uncertain time. However, it was pleasing to be able to manage our way through the situation and not to have to draw down on the loan, which has since been relinquished.”
Mrs Harvey says she’s particularly proud that HBAL was able to overcome a series of challenges to open the airport’s new terminal.

“It’s easy to forget that the airport has continued to serve this region through a global pandemic and the redevelopment of almost the entire building. I am enormously proud of the hard work and dedication of our team, including our ambassadors, our contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers – no matter what the challenge, they found a way to operate safely and functionally for airport passengers, tenants, community stakeholders and visitors. I thank them for that.”

“The new airport is a showcase of partnerships, collaboration and input from mana whenua, the community and local business. It’s a stunning waharoa (gateway) for us to welcome and farewell whanau and visitors alike – one that reflects who we are and who we aspire to be.”

Financial Results for FY2021

Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited chief executive, Stuart Ainslie, says it is a pleasing recovery and a significantly better financial result than initially anticipated.

“For obvious reasons, our estimates at the start of the financial year were conservative but annualised passenger numbers ended up at 461,000 – 45% above forecast and with much stronger revenue growth.

“This year we are delighted that Hawke’s Bay Airport has returned to a net profit after tax, with a final result of $555,315 at revenue levels greater than those seen in any prior years.”

A refinancing process, in partnership with new lender ASB, is also offering funding headroom for HBAL’s capital expenditure requirements and growth aspirations.

Mr Ainslie says not only has HBAL responded to the financial challenges of Covid-19, but it has made significant steps forward on other important fronts.

“We’ve set a strong foundation for a number of capital projects (through our master plan, Ahuriri Aeropark and the solar farm) which will build our financial resilience for the future, we’ve stepped up our commitment to reducing the airport’s environmental footprint (achieving Level 2 Airport Carbon Accreditation and setting a net zero target for 2030), we’re keeping passengers safe by retaining air traffic control services, and we’ve strengthened our relationships with our stakeholders and the community through meaningful engagement.

We’ve been able to keep our eye on the future, as well as responding to the urgent challenges we’ve faced through the year.”

Looking forward to 2022

Mr Ainslie says Hawke’s Bay continues to be a desirable destination for domestic travellers and this was backed up by Originair’s recent announcement that it was adding direct flights to Nelson, Hamilton and Palmerston North to Hawke’s Bay’s offering.

“We’re anticipating that, due to Covid-19 border restrictions, it may take 18 to 24 months for international travel to return to any sort of normality. However, based on what we’ve seen from business and leisure travellers over the last year, domestic passenger numbers are likely to be back to full strength much sooner than that.”

“Over the next financial year, our inspirational new airport will continue to develop – with the completion of the exterior and further development of retail offerings and passenger facilities within the terminal. ”

“While the terminal is almost complete, we haven’t seen an end to construction at the airport altogether, with developments at the Ahuriri Aeropark likely this year. We’re also about to start engaging with the community on our plans for a 24.2 megawatt solar farm. There are exciting things ahead for Hawke’s Bay Airport,” Mr Ainslie says.

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