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Wellington Airport to Double Passenger Traffic by 2030, CEO Says

Wellington International Airport Ltd., majority owned by Infratil Ltd., forecast passenger traffic will double in the next 20 years as more travelers from the Asia-Pacific region visit New Zealand.

Traffic is expected to grow at an average rate of 3.4 percent a year, reaching 1,000 passengers an hour by 2030, the airport’s Chief Executive Officer Steven Fitzgerald said at a media briefing yesterday before the opening of a new terminal.

The airport, New Zealand’s third-busiest, expects growing economies in the Asia-Pacific region will fuel a 4.5 percent annual increase in overseas passengers using its new NZ$39 million ($29 million) international terminal.

“Growth in the international economies New Zealand relies on and the long-term GDP projections are higher” for global than domestic traffic, Fitzgerald said in a phone interview.

The airport maintained 4.5 percent passenger growth through the financial crisis, he said. It currently handles 5.2 million passengers a year, including 600,000 overseas travelers.

The new terminal, three separate structures encased in 1,600 square meters (17,200 square feet) of copper sheeting and collectively known as “The Rock,” more than triples departure lounge space, Fitzgerald said.

The airport raised its landing charges 2.85 percent in July 2007 for five years to fund the NZ$60 million two-stage development, which included refurbishment of existing infrastructure and customs and security areas.

Wellington International Airport is 66 percent owned by Infratil, a Wellington-based investor in power companies and airports.

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