New Zealand's Christchurch International Airport is handling nearly half a million fewer passengers a year since earthquakes devastated the city and faces higher insurance and other costs.

A prospectus for the sale of bonds by the airport filed to the Companies Office says the airport suffered only cosmetic damage after the earthquakes of September 2010 and February 2011, and continues to be a significant contributor to the economy.

It is New Zealand's second-largest airport and handles 81 per cent of international visitors to the South Island. In the 2010 calendar year, the airport contributed 3.9 per cent of the gross domestic product of the South Island.

Christchurch International Airport made a $NZ18.43 million ($A16.08 million) after-tax profit in the year to June 30 2013, down 6.1 per cent on the previous year, and paid dividends of $NZ8.85m, down 51.2 per cent.

Christchurch City Council owns 75 per cent of the airport via a holding company and the Crown owns 25 per cent via two shareholding ministers. The return on equity has fallen to 2.9 per cent in 2013 from 4.7 per cent in 2010.

The airport handled 5.5 million passengers in the year to June 30 2013, little changed from 2012 but down from 6 million in 2010.

Total aircraft movements of 71,715 were down from 73,184 in 2012 and 79,016 in 2010.

A new international service between Christchurch and Perth from December to April announced by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia will add 23,900 seats to the Christchurch market each year.

A domestic service between Christchurch and the Kapiti Coast from November 1 will add 36,500 seats a year.

The airport is paying higher insurance premiums since the earthquakes and cleaning and energy costs rose when a new $237m terminal was opened this year.

Despite 11,000 earthquakes during construction, snow storms, volcanic ash clouds and other unforeseen events, the terminal project was completed on budget.

The prospectus details only $NZ33,000 of earthquake costs in 2013, down from $NZ1.08m in 2012 and $NZ2.7m in 2011.

Chief executive Jim Boult said the 2013 profit was satisfactory given the reduction in passenger numbers and comparison with last year's after-tax profit was irrelevant because of a number of accounting factors.

He says until passenger numbers increase, the airport's result will be continue to be constrained.

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