Auckland Airport has posted a 4.7% growth in net profit for the six months ended 31 December 2009, as passenger demand recovered.

Net profit for the fiscal first half-year rose 4.7% to NZ$54 million ($37.5 million) from NZ$51.6 million in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

Total revenue fell 0.6% to NZ$182.9 million, due to a "modest reduction in retail revenue", says the airport.

Operating earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation grew 0.1% to NZ$138.8 million, it adds.

"Our financial results are beginning to show some benefit from our business achievements and from an improving passenger volume trend," says Auckland Airport chairman Tony Frankham.

In the six months, total passenger volumes rose 2.3% to 6.8 million, largely due to growth on trans-Tasman and domestic routes, says the airport.

Total aircraft movements fell 2.9% to 78,162, it adds.

"Driving more travel demand from Asia is crucial to the future growth of both Auckland Airport and New Zealand tourism," says the airport.

Looking ahead, it plans to grow international passengers "at a rate significantly higher than the historical average".

The airport expects to post a net profit of NZ$100 million to NZ$105 million for the full fiscal year, and for capital expenditure to remain in the range of NZ$60 million to NZ$65 million, it adds.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news