Southern Cross Airports Corporation Holdings announced a 6.8 per cent increase in earnings (excluding specific non-recurring expenses) for Sydney Airport for the three months to 31 March 2008.
Southern Cross Airports Corporation Holdings Limited (SCACH1) today announced an unaudited consolidated profit before depreciation and amortisation, net financing costs, income tax, and specific non-recurring expenses (EBITDA excluding specific non-recurring expenses) of $A162.0 million for the three months to 31 March 20082 (Q1 CY2007: $A151.7 million). EBITDA (including specific non-recurring expenses) increased to $A161.7 million (Q1 CY2007: $A151.6 million).
EBITDA (excluding specific non-recurring expenses) for the three months to 31 March 2008 represents a 6.8 per cent increase in earnings over the previous corresponding period (pcp). EBITDA (including specific non-recurring expenses) increased by 6.6 per cent on the pcp.
Total revenue growth for the three months of 7.6 per cent over pcp remained ahead of traffic growth. Total operating expenses were 12.1 per cent higher than pcp, reflecting higher security operating costs which were recovered through higher aeronautical security revenues, additional services and utilities expenses associated with higher input prices and strong revenue growth.
SACL Chief Executive Officer, Russell Balding said that the airport had achieved a good result in the quarter based on continued investments in all of the airport's businesses.
"During the quarter, V Australia announced new services between Sydney and Los Angeles from December 2008. V Australia's decision to fly first from Sydney is great news for our tourism industry. It provides more choice and new options for both business and holiday travellers."
"In addition, Singapore Airlines commenced their fourth Sydney to Singapore service on 8 April 2008, with this service ramping up to daily in June 2008."
"Sydney Airport welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, that the future of Australia's aviation industry will be the subject of a Green Paper – White Paper process."
"The Minister's commitment to consult all stakeholders, including Australia's airports, before finalising the Government's aviation policies and directions is especially welcome."
"The 'Assessing the Impact of Airport Privatisation' report released by the Tourism & Transport Forum clearly demonstrates how Australia's airports play a crucial role within the tourism industry and the wider Australian economy."
Total revenue from all business units rose 7.6 per cent over pcp to $A200.7 million (Q1 CY2007: $A186.5 million). Traffic in the first quarter continued the strong trend of last year. The introduction of additional domestic and regional flights by Virgin Blue and Jetstar pushed domestic growth to 7.6% during the quarter. Virgin has deployed new Embraer aircraft at Sydney Airport, with new services to Canberra, Albury and Port Macquarie.
Aeronautical revenues continue to include volume based pricing incentives. These have been recognised on forecast passenger numbers for the full year, resulting in aeronautical revenue growing at a lower rate than passenger traffic in the first quarter.
Aeronautical security recovery was higher than pcp, due to the implementation of Liquid Aerosols and Gels (LAGS) enhanced security measures and 100% checked baggage screening at the domestic terminal.
Retail revenue grew in line with passengers as a result of the Duty Free contract, which commenced on 1 November 2006, being in its relative infancy and hence operating at minimum rent levels. Work has commenced on the redevelopment of the T1 Departures project, with a number of landside and airside retail stores now closed for refurbishment. On completion, the new retail stores will provide a totally new retail experience that will appeal to travellers, staff and visitors to the terminal.
The development of new parking products continued to attract support from customers. The new E-park product, a web-based pre-booked parking product, is now linked with the Jetstar and the Park, Bark & Purr websites. Australia's first airport multi-user rental car quick turnaround facility was opened progressively during the quarter. The international multi-storey car park is scheduled to open in the middle of the year and will provide improved facilities for passengers when completed.
Property revenue was strong in the quarter reflecting the ongoing rental benefits of the recently completed lease renewal for the fuel facility and the acquisition of the 9,000m2 freight facility with the secured lease pre-commitment from a major freight company. In addition, a number of lease and rent review initiatives have resulted in sound ongoing returns during the quarter.
Total operating expenses including specific non-recurring expenses increased by 12.1 per cent on pcp to $A39.1 million (Q1 CY2007: $A34.9 million), mainly attributable to additional recoverable costs in relation to enhanced security measures, increased maintenance costs and higher services and utilities costs. Services and Utilities costs have increased as a result of security costs, higher utilities costs and car parking operating costs, the latter being related to increased car parking revenues from higher volumes and an expanded product range. Total operating expenses excluding specific non-recurring expenses increased 11.4 per cent on pcp to $A38.8 million (Q1 CY2007: $A34.8 million).
Total operating expenses excluding recoverable security expenses and specific non recurring expenses increased by 5.2% over pcp to $A26.2 million (Q1 CY2007: $A24.9 million). Total operating expenses per passenger excluding recoverable security expenses and specific non-recurring expenses decreased by 1.6 per cent over pcp to $A3.13 per passenger (Q1 CY2007: $A3.19 per passenger).
Total capital expenditure increased 51.6 per cent on pcp to $A74.3 million (Q1 CY2007: $A49.0 million). Capital expenditure comprised maintenance expenditure of $A5.3 million and $A69.0 million in growth expenditure. Major items of spend for the quarter included the T1 Multi-Storey Car Park, T1 Redevelopment Project, A380 related pavement works, RESA works on Runway 25 and T1 Arrival Southern Design Works.