Air NZ Looking At Queenstown Airport Stake

July 23, 2010

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Air New Zealand is willing to lead a group of airlines in buying a stake in Queenstown Airport, the carrier said on Friday.

"Air New Zealand would be willing to lead a consortium of airlines to take a cornerstone shareholding in Queenstown airport and commit to ensuring the cost of travel stays down," Air NZ general manager for Australasia Bruce Parton said in a statement.

He said they would not seek any dividends, which would be reinvested into the airport infrastructure.

The proposal follows the move by Auckland Airport, the country's main international gateway, to take a 25 percent stake in Queenstown Airport for NZD$27.7 million.

Auckland Airport has the option to increase its holding to between 30 percent and 35 percent within the next year. It said the move was part of its growth strategy to increase tourist numbers to the country through partnerships collaborating with other airports in New Zealand and Australia.

"AIAL has displayed significant greed over several years and is adept at fleecing travellers; it would be naive to think it's not aiming to increase airline and airport charges which will ultimately increase the cost of travel into and out of Queenstown," Parton said.

(Reuters)