Auckland Airport buys stake in NZ's Queenstown Airport

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Auckland International Airport (AIA) is buying a 24.99% stake in New Zealand's Queenstown Airport, which anticipates that a new alliance with Auckland Airport will help boost traffic.

AIA says it is paying NZ$27.7 million ($20 million) for a 24.99% stake in Queenstown Airport and has an option to increase its stake to 30-35% by 30 June 2011.

The stake is being bought through the issuance of new shares in Queenstown Airport. Monies raised will be used to fund the airport's expansion, says Queenstown Airport, without elaborating on what its expansion plans are.

Some monies will also be returned to the airport's other shareholder Queenstown Lakes District Council, it adds.

Queenstown is a tourist on New Zealand's south island. Queenstown Airport in the 12 months to 30 June had 811,000 passengers and anticipates that the alliance with Auckland Airport will increase its passenger numbers by 176,000 per annum.

The two airports will be working together to persuade airlines to operate to Queenstown and this involves development of dual destination promotions, it says.

It makes sense to team up with Auckland Airport, because 70% of New Zealand's international tourists enter New Zealand via Auckland, it adds.