25 Aug 2020

Big drop in Hawke's Bay passenger numbers due to Covid-19

6:21 pm on 25 August 2020

Passenger numbers at Hawke's Bay Airport fell from more than 60,000 in April last year to just 149 in the same month this year.

The plane which was forced to make an emergency landing at Hawke's Bay Airport.

Hawke's Bay Airport Photo: RNZ / Anusha Bradley

Aircraft movements fell from nearly 1200 to just 15 at the same time, as Covid-19 hit.

These numbers were revealed as the airport presented its statement of intent to the Hastings District Council today.

The council is one of the airport's shareholders, along with Napier City Council and the government.

Chief executive Stuart Ainslie said the pandemic had a dramatic impact on the airport's operation.

"When you're operating a small regional airport that's relying on a predominant airline [Air New Zealand], it just sort of brings it home, the impact it has when you lose pretty much all your flights, your retail, your car parking."

Covid-19 wasn't the only thing that hit the airport.

In early 2019, the company building a new terminal, Arrow International, went into voluntary administration so work had to be brought in house.

In November, Jetstar announced it was stopping regional flights around New Zealand, including Napier.

In May this year, Airways NZ and Hawke's Bay Airport began a review of its air traffic control services. The results will be provided to the CAA which will decide the what type of service is needed.

In April 2020 the revenue was $105,000, dropping from over $600,000 in April 2019.

Ainslie said the company was finding ways to diversify income, such as building more property on airport land, including a solar farm.

The new terminal is due to be finished in February.

The airport received a $9 million loan from its shareholders in July to help it complete its terminal and support operating costs for the coming year.

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